An expanding definition of family calls for a new kind of networking

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As the definition of family expands, a new type of matchmaking service has begun to crop up—not so much “girl meets boy” as “egg meets sperm.”

For those LGBT couples and individuals who want the other half of their child’s DNA to not only be known, but part of their lives, Our Family Coalition, based in Oakland, California, holds events for prospective parents of all types to network.

Executive director Judy Appel told the Advocate, “Queer people are creating families in so many different ways. It is no small thing to have and raise a child, whether you are a parent, a co-parent, or a donor. We found that while more people wanted to enter into co-parenting arrangements, be a donor or have a known donor, unless there was already someone they knew in the picture, it was difficult to meet someone to offer the other part of the zygote.”

The coalition’s second Egg Meets Sperm networking mixer will be on December 11; the page explains, “Are you ready to start a family? Missing either egg or sperm? Looking for a co-parent? At this fun mixer, people interested in finding or being a known donor or co-parent can meet one another and talk about making babies. Facilitated icebreakers, refreshments and wine will be provided. Open to all genders.”

Admission to the mixer is free; also involved are the pro-LGBT parenting groups Family By Design and Gay Future Dads.

An attorney and organizer of Gay Future Dads, Charles Spiegel, told the Advocate, “What I like is the creativity, the potential to reduce costs of family creation, putting power in people’s hands, and the opportunity for known donation and parenting for the children created.”

Of course, finding “parenting partners,” as Family By Design calls it, is only the first step. There are a multitude of legal, medical, and domestic issues to consider: custody, co-parenting agreement, visitation, vacations, child support, tax credits, insurance, and the list goes on.

Fortunately for families in California, legislation passed in early 2013 allows children to legally have more than two parents. Section 1 of the Family Code now reads,

(a) Most children have two parents, but in rare cases, children have more than two people who are that child’s parent in every way. Separating a child from a parent has a devastating psychological and emotional impact on the child, and courts must have the power to protect children from this harm.

(b) The purpose of this bill is to abrogate In re M.C. (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 197 insofar as it held that where there are more than two people who have a claim to parentage under the Uniform Parentage Act, courts are prohibited from recognizing more than two of these people as the parents of a child, regardless of the circumstances.

(c) This bill does not change any of the requirements forestablishing a claim to parentage under the Uniform Parentage Act. It only clarifies that where more than two people have claims to parentage, the court may, if it would otherwise be detrimental to the child, recognize that the child has more than two parents.

(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that this bill will only apply in the rare case where a child truly has more than two parents, and a finding that a child has more than two parents is necessary to protect the child from the detriment of being separated from one of his or her parents.

Depending on how successful the mixers prove, such families may not be rare for long.

429Magazine

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