what would you think if your ex was a sperm donor for his best (female) friend?

OK, here goes. This is somewhat painful, but I want to hear the opinions of some people out there about this. This is long and complicated and I’m too tired to be more concise, so forgive me in advance for long-windedness…

My boyfriend, age 33, and I broke up recently for reasons I will not go into in this thread – mostly differences in goals/philosophies. We still communicate and even see each other occasionally.

Ex has two children. One is adopted. She’s now 18. We’ll call her Ana. She lives with ex, probably for another 2 years or so. He adopted her out of the child welfare system when he was doing social work. I consider ex a very good father – good at building self-esteem, good at helping children be their own problem-solvers (but with guidance), good at making his children feel loved. From a material perspective, I don’t think he makes enough money to really support everyone, but somehow he makes it work. I believe he should try to get a better job/work more/get more education. He is not currently a social worker, btw.

Ex’s other child is biological - we’ll call him Alex. Alex is 5. Ex shares custody with Alex’s mom, and they get along well and live near each other. They still do things together, often with other family members, friends, me, etc. Ex has a fairly close group of friends – who are friends of Alex’s mom, too — most with children. They share childcare, get together often, etc. Ex’s best friend is a woman who is part of this circle. We’ll call her Jane. Jane is a lesbian who really wants a child, and is not in a committed relationship, and has had a hard time finding one. She has been trying to artificially inseminate with sperm from a sperm bank, to no avail. No, I’m not even to the main part I want the opinions about.

Two days ago ex called me and told me that Jane is pregnant. “That’s exciting,” I said. Sort of, he said. Turns out he FATHERED HER CHILD FOR HER, in a “quick procedure dependent on good timing” as a donor/friend. I guess. Or maybe as a dad. I don’t know. I don’t know if he really knows. I could not believe it. I am still in shock. Why did he do it? I do not know. The sperm bank option was expensive and didn’t seem to be working. Maybe so she could use a known quantity? When I asked what he is going to be to this child —let’s call him Child-- he said, “Well, I’m not going to say, ‘I’m not your dad.’ That’s not how I am.” Whatever that means. I said, “What about when Child wants to know why Alex lives with you and Child doesn’t?” “I’ll say that Jane and I are not a couple.” “But Alex’s mom and you are not a couple, and Alex lives 3.5 days/week with you.” No real answer to that, except that ex will allow Child to “stay with him” – in the sense of sleepovers, I gathered from his tone – if Child wishes. Ex says that regardless of who Jane had a child with, Child would be a part of Ex’s life because of Jane & ex’s friendship. Um, OK. I feel as if this is the sort of situation that could not be more confusing & painful for a child. Ex says he isn’t comfortable with how Jane is announcing it, either. As in, “Ex and I are pregnant.” Hmmm, I guess they didn’t talk this out much. Sort of one of those things that you discuss BEFORE YOU DECIDE BEFORE YOU START A HUMAN. Obviously, ex will be legally responsible for the child as a father. He didn’t say if they’ve talked about finances at all. He does not have enough income to support 2 children (Alex’s mom pays at least half of Alex’s expenses anyway, and Ana pays a lot of her own as well), let alone 3. I think he thinks of himself as a donor— a good friend ---- who also happens to be the biological father – not as the child’s dad. My initial feeling is that this is a disastrous, irresponsible, ill-thought-out, selfish action taken without regard to how it will actually and truly affect the Child. It seems like planned disaster, and years of therapy waiting to be undergone.

What do you think about his decision to provide his sperm? What do you think about his decision if it turns out he’s going to be an actual parent and not just a sperm donor (sharing responsibility for decisions, guidance, finances, sharing custody, etc.)? Do you think there something in between that would be appropriate/not too damaging to the Child?

I may well not know the answers to any follow-up questions. I didn’t trust myself to be rational and calm, and he seemed to be having a hard time as well, so I kept the conversation short and my questions to a minimum. He knows I am shocked.

I sure hope they don’t read this board.

He’s your ex.

Why are you thinking about him at all?
This is not a good idea.

They should have talked it through a lot more than they apparently did, but apart from that I give the whole deal two big thumbs up.

If my ex was a sperm donor for his best friend I’d be upset and jelous. If he was just a friend, I would be a bit surprised, but would probably be happy for them. I think its understandable that you are upset and you don’t need to manufacture logical reasons such as they haven’t talked about it enough and he may have trouble financially. Maybe you need a rest from him for a while?

Again, he is YOUR EX.
Let him go. Let him be.

Move on

tesseract, I guess you feel pretty rough about this. I would be hurting too. But there are some things that you can’t control and this is one of them. Even if we said you are right and they are wrong, you still have to let go for your own peace of mind.

I have been surprised in my lifetime by how much time I have wasted worrying about things I can’t do anything about and things that never actually come to pass.

It’s an idea that will take some getting used to, but all in all, I don’t find it wierd or wrong. Once the baby is born and the reality sets in, everyone’s role will become more clearly defined. They should have given it more thought up front, but what’s done is done. As long as he’s not RESPONSIBLE for financial support, everything is fine. You didn’t say if he donated the sperm the old-fashioned way, or if there was a middle man. If it was the latter, I don’t believe there is any forced responsibility for the child’s welfare. I think.

I’m not a lawyer, nor am I any kind of specialist in Californian law, but I do believe this is way wrong. The biological father of a child is responsible for the child’s welfare, no matter how the child was conceived. He’d have to go to court and claim some pretty extra-doubleplus-special circumstances to get out of it. Say, if he masturbated and fell asleep and a girl broke into his apartment, scooped up his sperm, inserted it and got pregnant. If he could prove that, then maybe he’d be off the hook. I’d think this is an open-and-shut case, he’s responsible, end of story.

Your ex doesn’t seem to have thought this through very well. He is, in fact, legally responsible for this child. He’s putting a lot of trust in Jane never demanding child support payments.

As for the kid, assuming that Jane is a decent mother, he’ll probably be fine. He’s young enough he won’t be comparing himself to Alex too much. (who actually has a half-time, rather than no-time, father) Kids can adjust to just about any weird situation, as long as it isn’t presented as weird to them. Of course, with Jane running about saying “Ex and I are pregnant” she’s starting off on the wrong foot.

The best part about this is that Ex is your ex. He may have made a terrible mistake – which has nothing to do with you! You don’t have to bear the consequences of his actions. If things go bad and he calls you to talk about it, feel free to say “Sucks to be you, loser boy!” and hang up.

I am a bit curious if you’re just upset because Ex boinked someone else and then called you to tell you. That’d be understandable to be upset about, especially since Jane’s someone you wouldn’t have thought would be likely to be boffing your ex. (Even masturbating into a turkey baster and then handing it to her counts as sex, for emotional distress purposes)

Well, people donate sperm to sperm banks all the time and I don’t hear of any of them being responsible for the child’s welfare. How do you figure that he would be responsible??

He didn’t go through a sperm bank. That’s why he’s legally responsible.

At one time, I had a friend who desperately wanted to get pregnant. I considered the idea of being a “sperm donor” for her, but thought I should ask a lawyer what they thought. They said I’d be legally responsible for the child.

What about if I didn’t actually have real sex with her?

Still responsible.

What if I had a signed contract that the mother didn’t expect anything from me but sperm?

Still responsible.

So I decided to give the experience a miss.

No, I don’t know exactly how sperm banks or ovum donation work with absolving biological-parent responsibility. I imagine having doctors involved and the participants being in separate rooms helps a lot.

Well, sperm banks are formal and regulated by law. In your post, I took “middleman” to mean a euphemism for artificial insertion rather than intercourse, which I assumed you meant by “old-fashioned way”. If the guy went to the girl’s house, masturbated into a cup, and the girl manually inserted it, then I’m sure he would be responsible. Otherwise, couldn’t every man claim that he’d done exactly that and weasel out of paying child support?

I can’t pull it up on the web right now, but I do recall reading a news story about a similar situation - mom wanted a specific donor, he gave a sample for insemination, she promised he wouldn’t pay child support. They may have even done something in writing (not via a lawyer), or had witnesses, but I don’t recall. Later on, she changed her mind and successfully sued him for child support.

Oh, and my answer to the question in the title - I’d be glad I dumped a guy who fathered a child with so little thought about what that might mean, and try my best to ignore what else he was doing.

I’d think it was none of my business.

I think it is positively heinous that he has intentionally created a child that he has no interest in being a real father to and I think it’s equally bad of Jane to intentionally bring a child into the world that will be fatherless. The only way this could be “appropriate” IMHO is if he marries this woman, which obviously is not going to happen.

Poor little baby :frowning:

Lots of stuff on the net on this:
"A known sperm donor is also not recognised legally as the father of the child. However, he can apply for a parenting order.

Before you start trying to conceive, it is important for everyone involved to think through issues such as: the level of contact with the child, financial arrangements, decision-making about the child’s upbringing and so on."
http://www.over-the-rainbow.org/main/topic9_6.htm

That’s for Victoria, but I bet California is much more strict.

Hm. I know that it’s probably difficult to emotionally remove yourself from the situation, as it involves a man with whom you had a (seemingly serious) relationship and it’s a very sticky situation with serious consequences in any event…

but (you knew there was a “but…” coming)…

I think it’d be better for you if you attempted to simply move on - you’ll live your life and they’ll live theirs. I understand your concerns, truly. As you’re no longer a couple, though, you’re out of the proverbial loop as far as commenting on his decision (or his decision-making skills).

I am female and have a male friend who has a biological clock ticking. we had talked about potentially making a baby for him to raise…I would do it but was concerned that being a single parent was a bigger under taking than he realized. He’s still searching for a wife but if he doesn’t find one, I’d still consider doing that for him. But in the larger sense, if he’s your ex…it really isn’t any of your business.

Thanks for responses so far. Some have been very helpful. I should have clarified something – I’m not asking for what you think about ME — what you think I should do, or whether you think I should be worrying about it, or anything. He is still my friend and I care about him and about the Child. I don’t need “get on with your life” advice, or actually advice at all. I’m not going to DO anything. I am interested in opinions about the situation. I told you he was my ex so you get the whole picture and know why I know about it at all/know why I am not objective. He called me to talk about it – it’s not like I stumbled on to this information and am now intruding into their affairs.

This is not about me. I am thinking of Child, mostly. When I say mostly, I mean that I know I am not objective. That’s why I want to hear outside opinions. I am sad and upset. I’m not jealous that he may have “boinked” her, as someone said (that’s not the way it happened, but HOW it happened is so insignificant compared to WHAT happened, anyway). I guess you’ll have to take my word for the fact that I’m really not that shallow.

I’m asking for opinions about the situation. I want outside opinions because I do indeed want to know if others – not emotionally connected with him – would feel the trepidation that I do about the outcome of this or be as sad & worried for the Child as I am.

Even though this thread is not, or was not supposed to be, about me, the situation definitely reinforces the “different goals/philosophies” rationale for breaking up.

Jane will be a very good provider financially, and I’m not as worried about the financial aspects of it as I am about the Child not knowing where he fits in to the world and feeling cheated out of a real parent. It almost seems that it would be worse to have a “sort of” parent who’s capable of being a dad, but isn’t, than a totally absent father.