Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsAbout 4 years ago, I started looking online. I wanted to; be a parent from I suppose for the last 15 years, and finally came to the point that I decided to do it but didn’t have a partner at the time, and so I decided to look online. I had wanted to know the biological identity and have a relationship with the father. So I didn’t want to do anonymous sperm donation. I was actually looking for someone to co-parent. It was a bit of a rollercoaster really, to be honest. I was very optimistic to begin with.

Skip to 0 minutes and 31 secondsAnd then after getting quite a few propositions to have intercourse with certain straight men I decided to narrow my choices to just looking at gay men. And so then eventually I went down the route of meeting with a gay couple and we were all ready to go and we’d agreed, we had been sort of spending time together for six months and then they pulled out at the last minute. So they were getting their, contract ready and seeing a lawyer and in that process got some advice and they decided to go with surrogacy. So, I suppose that’s one of the pitfalls is there is no guarantees.

Skip to 1 minute and 6 secondsSo, eventually after lots of ups and downs I met the man who is to be the co-parent with me and we “dated” for about a year, got to know each other. Spent time with each other’s families, and then started trying to get pregnant, about a year after we first met. At the time ideally it would have been nice to have been in a relationship with somebody else but the more I thought about the potential idea of a co-parent that seemed really appealing. Somebody who would be around, you know, hopefully for, you know, all of the child’s life and we would have a relationship.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 secondsAnd they would be a constant and they would help emotionally and time wise and input and financially. And the thought was that if somebody else comes along they just can hopefully slot into that and parent with me and same with the guy’s, you know, if he has a relationship that he would become involved as well and, it just seemed a win-win situation, that you would have two sets you know, of parents, that are committed to the child. There are definitely risks that come with either using a known donor or, co-parenting. Co-parenting is an unknown so, but probably no more of an unknown than meeting a partner online and then getting in a relationship and parenting with them.

Skip to 2 minutes and 26 secondsyou know, you still don’t, don’t really know until you become parents what that is going to be like.

Lorna's story

Meet Lorna. Lorna is a lesbian woman who four years ago started looking online for someone to co-parent with. At the time, Lorna was single and she wanted to find someone who she could meet and get on with, before agreeing to embark on joint parenthood.

Lorna used several online networks in order to find someone suitable and in this interview she describes that process. She wanted to ensure the child would know their father and therefore searched for co-parenting options. This journey included some obstacles but for her it was important to create a good relationship with the potential father before making the decision to conceive.

For discussion: Imagine you are Lorna’s best friend - what would you say to support her?

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This video is from the free online course:

Making Babies in the 21st Century

UCL (University College London)