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care, welfare and development of a child”.
Every case is determined on the basis of the
child’s best interests, but in some past cases
the Court has paid attention to the donor ’s
pre-conception intention to be an involved
parent over the objections of the mothers.
If you choose a known donor he will possibly
be in your life and your child’s life for many
years to come. It is vital that you have a clear
agreement about his role. It can help to make
a checklist of things to consider before you
• What is the donor to be called? (Dad? First
• Who will be at the birth?
• Who gets to make important decisions
about the child or be consulted about these
decisions (this often becomes clearer when
you think of a specific example: who
names the baby? If he’s a boy, will he be
circumcised? Is a religious school out of the
• Who is to be financially responsible for the
child and what does that entail?
• Will the donor have contact with the
child? If so starting when and how often?
• Will the donor want the child to know other
members of his family? A partner you will
likely know, but what about his parents?
– Will they respect your family unit?
• How would you feel if the donor and the
child became close, but then the donor
moved overseas? How would the donor
feel if you moved? Do you have a duty to
Photo: Carole Segal/Showtime
Tina and Bette cruise for a sperm donor
Jenni Millbank is Associate Professor
of Law at the University of Sydney and
Special Adviser with Watts McCray
in your life
come. It is
consult each other in advance about these
kinds of decisions?
• What if one of you died? Who would you
want to care for the child and who in your
lives is likely to make trouble about it?
• If you have disagreements down the
track, how do you want to resolve them?
• What if in later years the child wants to
change what you have all agreed?
Many of these things will not be binding in
an agreement. But they can help to make
sure you have chosen the right guy and
hopefully avoid a later dispute. See Talking
Turkey 2nd Edition on the Inner City Legal
Centre website for suggested forms of
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