I’m a single straight guy in my late 30s. I have a long-time friend, a single bi woman in her late 30s, who really wants a child. She just got out of a serious relationship that ended, in part, because her boyfriend didn’t want kids. Now she is worried about her fertility and has decided to try going it alone. She asked me if I would give her my sperm. My first instinct was no way—I have no interest in being a father. But she explained that my sperm is way cheaper than using a sperm bank, and then she knows what she’s getting. We would have a lawyer friend draw up a contract relieving me of any paternal rights or responsibilities.
Everything was a go until she mentioned that she wants to have actual sex. I thought I would be jacking off into a cup or something. Maybe it’s irrational, but I don’t think I could get someone pregnant by having sex with them and then not feel like I was responsible for the kid. My friend says I make no sense, and she’s upset because she thinks this is some kind of personal rejection. Am I out of line to say no to this arrangement, but not the sperm in a cup?
NO! No. Absolutely not, never, nope. I don’t think you should feel bad at all about pulling out (har har) of this arrangement. For a lot of reasons!
First and most importantly, you should never feel pressured to have sex with someone you don’t want to have sex with. Ever. That’s pretty much the most ironclad rule of all sexual conduct.
Second, I am not a lawyer, but I don’t know how legally enforceable such a contract would be. Imagine this as a very high-stakes version of deciding to be roommates. However great it seems at first, inevitably you’ll fight about something. That disagreement might be a small bump that ultimately strengthens your relationship, or it might be the trigger for an awful, relationship-ending fight. If you guys go through an ugly friend breakup, you might find yourself suddenly in a position where you are on the hook for child support and/or feeling sad that your genetic offspring is being told terrible things about you.
Third, this is a huge, huge deal. Very huge. Your friend sounds like she’s really committed to being a mom, so she should do that. But you sound like you got talked into something you’re not sure about, and that’s not really cool for something of this magnitude. One thing a friend-donor circumvents is any kind of counseling about what you’re doing. What if, contract notwithstanding, you decide you want to part of this kid’s life at some point? Or if you are going to be in its life, what if your friend wants to move? Or gets into a serious relationship with someone you hate? Or what if the kid grows up and wants to know its bio dad?
This sex issue puts the brakes on, and I think that’s good. You guys need to have more discussion about this—you’re not going to be just a sperm bank; you’re her close friend! See a counselor and explore this more before you decide one way or the other. I know your friend’s biological clock is ticking, but ultimately neither of you wants to enter this arrangement lightly.