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Sperm donors are not dads. We need more clarity around what constitutes a parent

7 10 0

My daughters, Greta and Aurora, may only be eight and seven, but they know this to be true: a donor isn’t a dad. As donor-conceived kids they have been taught that they have a donor, a special man who helped me become a mummy, but he is never referenced in any way as a father – because he’s not.

Legally he is not their father: his name isn’t on their birth certificates and he has none of the rights and responsibilities of a father. Emotionally he is not their father either: the kids have never even met him.

I understand it’s easy to casually confuse donor and dad. I often hear friends and family say things like “Greta and Rori’s father is a donor”, and I always correct them. No, they don’t have a father. They have a donor.

While it’s not always immediately apparent why it’s important to draw a distinction, it is.

If the donor is a father, where is he? Insert feelings of rejection and abandonment. Also, one day they might choose to meet their donor, and for a successful outcome all parties will need to be clear about their roles and expectations.

Repeat after me: donors are not dads.

But then, last week, the high court of Australia delivered a decision that turned that presumption on its head.

The case involved a dispute between Robert Masson and Susan Parsons (court pseudonyms). Masson and Parsons had been friends for decades when in 2006 they agreed to create a baby. The arrangement was private and informal.

Masson was........

© The Guardian