Monday, March 13, 2006

The law and the longest post about this whole mommy-business I've written so far.

We went to see a lawyer today to ask her about donor contracts and the law in Massachusetts. If we were to go forward with our PKD, our process would be to draw up a donor contract with our lawyer and hopefully have PKD agree to it, we would then sign it and he would sign it and a witness would sign it and I think there would be a notary involved, and then we ttc. We may or may not be able to have both our names on the birth certificate (we definitely could if we were going anonymous, but there's little precedent here for known donors). The big, fat catch here is that we would have to draw up an "acknowledgement of parentage" with him as "father" so that he can then terminate his parental rights and responsibilities, and he can't do the termination until 5 days after baby is born. And that document would have to be signed by him and a witness with a notary in his state, and then sent back, so we really wouldn't have it until probably a couple of weeks after birth. And that leaves the possibility of him not agreeing to relinquish paternity, and then we wind up in a nasty court battle with just our donor contract to back us up, and that may or may not hold up in court since there's no law to base it on, and it's really not how I would want to spend our first few months as a family. Not that we would expect that to happen, but we have to be cognizant of all the possibilities, especially as we do not know this person other than the few conversations we've had with him which have been great. And apparently, going through the cryobank actually doesn't help us legally unless we get married now and bank the swimmers in Massachusetts, and the Mass bank already made it pretty clear that they don't like to do known donors, so... we have a conundrum.
Now, we've never been too picky about how we do this becoming mommies business. We've considered everything and are open to everything. So, up comes the discussion about adoption again. I know that there are lots of ethical and childrearing issues for adoption, as there are for donor insemination. I know that there is just as much legal risk to a birthmom deciding to parent, too, but I think we could survive that better than carrying a child for 9 months and birthing her and then having a donor challenge us. That would just about kill me, and I'm not even the one who would have done the carrying (the first time around anyway). I know it usually isn't a problem for other people going through KDs, and that it probably wouldn't be a problem for us, but even just the emotional issues of dealing with the risk- yeesh.
Thinking about adoption again (something we have had in our plans as long as we've had plans, regardless of whether we ttc or not) brought me back to one of the major reasons we liked the KD idea- siblings. Now we didn't feel all that comfortable with having several half-sibs out there that we don't know, for reasons like possibly needing health info in the future, and especially because not all straight people who go through AI tell their kids about it, which might lead to some sticky interpersonal situations if our kids happened to randomly meet as peers one day. But, adopted kids wouldn't necessarily know who all their siblings and half-siblings are, either, not to mention KDs could have kids from relationships we don't know about, not to mention even those of us from long-term married, hetero parents don't necessarily know that Dad hasn't done the same... who knows? Nobody really knows, I guess. So that got me thinking back on why we wouldn't just head on back to the yes-donor board, which is where we started in the first place. Especially as I would think most people choose yes donors because they intend to tell their children about their donor and enable them to meet at 18. Which would eliminate (most of) that whole issue for us. So what the hell are we doing?!
This I think is all exacerbated by the Toys R Us dollars that J had to spend or lose this week, causing us to go buy a whole bunch of baby stuff, and start researching strollers and carriers and wraps and cribs and dear God! Now seems like a really good time to go to the gym. Run, mama, run!


Estelle said...

Oh dear.
As someone in anonymous donor hell, I still would prefer the anon route to the KD route. Why I have no clue. I think maybe because in Fl we have so little rights that having a dad thrown into the mix is just too much.
Hope you can get it all figured out! It's a pain trying to decide and then get everything worked out.

Jennifer said...

The potential heartbreak associated with a KD is why we went with anonymous too. While it is fine for the donor to sign away his rights when he is 30, single and still looking for love, who's to say he won't be 40, divorced, childless and decide he wants access to *his* kid? It was a chance we couldn't take, not for now, but for the future.

I hope you can find a solution that works best for you.