Should Kids of Same-Sex Parents Have a Relationship With Their Other Biological Parent?

Same-sex parents with their daughter

Should kids of same-sex parents should have a relationship with their biological parent (or parents, in the case of adoption)? That’s ultimately something each couple needs to decide for themselves. However, I find that it’s easier to make a decision when I’ve considered all potential angles. So below,  we’ll look at some things to consider from all possible scenarios. Just keep reading!

Should Kids of Same-Sex Parents Have a Relationship With Their Other Biological Parent?

For LGBTQ couples thinking about starting their own family, the question of how involved a sperm donor or surrogate should be in the lives of the kids of same-sex parents life pops up more than just about any other. I recently saw a great thread on Reddit discussing this very thing. It’s since been deleted, but the responses are still there if you want to check it out. Anyway, the heart of the question came down to one thing- just how involved should sperm donors be in their biological child’s life. So, let’s explore some potential answers. These apply to both sperm donors and surrogates, by the way. 

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Completely uninvolved

Completely uninvolved  is typically the most common option, especially for those who use a sperm bank or go the closed adoption route. It’s a little trickier with surrogates (unless you never actually meet them, it’s hard not to develop a bond with the person who carried your child for you), but still doable. 

Child behaviour problems - what par...
Child behaviour problems - what parents need to know

Basically, your child has zero contact with their other biological parent, period, and that bio parent has zero legal rights. It sounds cold to phrase it this way, but they basically just provide the biological material needed to create life. That’s it. That’s where their role ends. Whether or not you choose to tell your child about them at some point is totally up to you and your spouse. Creating a Family has a good guide to talking to your child about it, but you’ll need to decide which tips work best for your family. 

Again, regardless of whether you go with a known or unknown donor or surrogate, it’s absolutely vital to get everything spelled out in legalese before you get pregnant. Family Equality runs some great free webinars to help couples go over all of the factors to consider, so check that out. 

Also, keep in mind that laws regarding a sperm donor’s rights vary by state. The same goes for surrogates. In fact, with surrogates, the laws get even more confusing, especially if she’s using her own eggs. So, again (and again, and again), please iron out everything with a lawyer. Please. It will save you so much trouble down the road.  

Somewhat involved, as an “aunt” or “uncle”

Same-sex parents with their surrogate

Based on my experience and within my circle of friends, this seems to be the most common option. Basically, your sperm donor or surrogate acts as an aunt or uncle in your child’s life. In some cases, your child knows that this person is a biological parent, but again, that’s up to you to decide. I saw the perfect example of how this works on that aforementioned Reddit thread. User treecookie writes, 

“Our daughter has a known donor and it’s amazing…He’s one of our best friends, he and his wife live just round the corner and when not in lockdown we see them several times a week.”  

She went on to say that the family had “implication counselling” before the pregnancy, to iron out all of the details and expectations of all parties. She concludes with, 

It may be that in the future our daughter wants to call her sperm donor father or similar but I can’t imagine it. She calls him by his first name at the moment and they both love it. It’s been magical for the five of us, really really magical.

If you do decide to go this route, I think that counseling beforehand is a good idea. Again, you’ll also want to talk to a lawyer. I know I keep repeating that, and I’ll say it one more time, but it’s so important. 

Completely involved as an another parent

While this option isn’t the most common, I do have friends who opted to fully include their sperm donor in their child’s lives. Since they opted to go that route from the start, there’s really never been any confusion for their child. She has two moms and a dad, and that’s that. 

If you do decide to go with this option, it is important to sit down with a lawyer and determine which legal rights the other biological parent will have. That way, if issues come up later, you’re already covered. For example, if your child needs medical attention, who ultimately has the legal authority to make the final decision in cases where one biological parent disagrees? Or if you have a falling out, will the other bio parent retain visitation rights?

These are questions that only a lawyer can answer, but it’s best to cover every angle before problems arise, rather than find yourself at the center of a heated court battle later. I’m not trying to scare you away from allowing the sperm donor or surrogate to be involved. Far from it! Like I said, it’s worked out beautifully for my friend’s family. Just get all of your legal ducks in a row before deciding to go this route. 

Honestly, the answer to whether kids of same-sex parents should have a relationship with their biological parent comes down to one thing- what you and your spouse/partner feel is best for your family. No one can tell you how to raise your child. Or, rather, no one should tell you. Whether you opt to involve the sperm donor/surrogate or completely keep them anonymous, as long as you raise your child in a loving home, the rest will fall into place. 

Is one option better than another for your child? In my experience, no, I don’t think so. Whether your child has two same-sex parents, three parents, or even just one- the way you raise them matters more than the number of people involved.  

However, if you and your partner have completely different feelings on the matter, definitely consider talking to a counselor together. It’s important to get on the same page before you start your family, so you’re not scrambling to decide what to at the last minute. There will be plenty of other moments in parenting where you’ll make it up as you go along. This really shouldn’t be one of them. 

What do you think? Should kids of same-sex parents should have a relationship with their biological parent? Share below.