Co-parenting is becoming a popular trend for those desperate to have a baby but not in the typical heterosexual relationship where both parties want a child. With the use of specially developed online sites, like-minded adults can find a suitable person to have a baby with.
Those involved will bond over their shared desire to have a child of their own. Their partnership will be purely biological and/or legal, as opposed to the traditional love-filled, romantic, physical relationship. Co-parenting is a route to becoming a mother or father, regardless of your sexual preference.
Three year old Zaide is the gorgeous little boy born as a result of co-parenting. His biological parents are Kirsty Slack and Kam Wong. While Kirsty longed for a baby of her own, physically carrying one was not an option. Kam had a burning desire to father a baby, but as a gay man in a relationship with someone not keen to raise a family, his dream seemed unlikely to become a reality. Co-parenting united Kirsty and Kam, who went onto welcome baby Zaide into the world, with the help of his surrogate mother, Sabrina. The trio are all involved in raising Zaide, who will soon be turning four. Kirsty, Kam and Sabrina are all delighted with the result of their co-parenting, so much so that they are planning for baby number two.
While the parents of Zaide are all satisfied with their co-parenting arrangement, there are mixed reactions across society.
Some negative views have been expressed, including the lack of love between the parents is worrying, and that their selfish, immoral behaviour is unfair on the child. In response, Sabrina comments;
“They think you’re going to bring children into this warped world where there is no real love, no real morality, that it’s not natural, not right – and then you say to them: ‘Hang on a minute, you’re divorced. What difference does it make? Just because we don’t sleep with Kam, it doesn’t mean we don’t love and respect him as a man and as the father of our son.'”
Before the idea of co-parenting became popular online, Rachel Hope conceived her first child – now 22 years old – in this way.
It worked so well that she went on to co-parent her four year old daughter with her grown-up sons godparent. Using the internet in her search for co-parent number three, Rachel is amazed at the choice available as popularity of the trend increases, saying;
“..Now it has exploded and the world has caught up with me and I can pretty much have my pick of many, many fabulously qualified men. I’m spoilt for choice, and it’s quite a shock.”
She currently has four men to consider before selecting her ideal co-parent, but the first person she entered into discussions with changed their mind last minute. Although very understanding of his reasons for doing so, Rachel was disappointed and a little stressed as she races against her biological clock. To help others in their search for the perfect co-parent, Rachel is writing a book titled ‘Family by Choice.’
One of the favourite co-parenting sites – ‘Modamily’ – was founded by Ivan Fatovic and already has over 5000 members.
Women aged between 35 and 45 make up the majority, with one third of members being male and a quarter being attracted to the same sex. Ivan is considering employing additional staff as his site is attracting so many new members at an impressive rate. He encourages his members to attend legal consultations and counselling with their co-parents, as they are taking on a life-time commitment together. Ivan acknowledges that finding the perfect co-parent is not easy, saying;
“The relationship is going to be as hard or harder than dating, because you are making a life-long commitment…You have to have a thick skin. For those who are already feeling emotional, it can be even tougher if you are then rejected. A lot of people feel the rejection and can be heartbroken. I know customers who are considering two, three, four people in the early stages.”
A popular co-parenting site in the UK was created by Patrick Harrison and is called ‘PollenTree.’
Patrick and his wife both used to be lawyers and had their family using the traditional methods, however decided to set up the site when their friend began to have casual sex in the hope of conceiving. The site, which is free for users, has attracted almost 9000 members and continues to grow rapidly. Speaking about ‘PollenTree,’ Patrick says;
“We live in this urbanised society, people are working long hours; the chances of meeting people are getting more limited. The dating apps are pretty shallow. We are surrounded by people and yet we are alone. That’s what modern society is. Maybe it’s because we are on the internet too much…If you have found somebody you love and you’ve had your kids, it’s easy to take all that for granted. But a lot of people don’t have that, and there are many reasons why people don’t. You can’t blame them. People say they find themselves in this situation because they have been doing things they feel they were supposed to do, like being good at their profession and contributing to society. Having a family gets put on the back burner.”
Child psychologist, Dr Carol Burniston, questions whether co-parenting is in the best interests of the children born in this way. She says;
“The real issue of co-parenting is: ‘Are the child’s needs being met?’ And whether, amid all the cerebral activity of planning this child, you have actually taken into account a little person who may also have views, and that their views will need to be taken into consideration. There are babies born with far less planning. With divorced parenting, there can be quite a lot of animosity.
Co-parenting can be a good thing as long as there is an acceptance that it’s not just about the parents…When children are young, they think their lives are normal. When they get older, potentially there could be some bullying, but it’s about how everybody handles it, and it is about the message they give the child. As long as that child is supported and that the teachers support the child too.”