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A Twist on the Modern Family: Co-Parenting Partnerships

Katlyn Joy |13, February 2013


Today's singles have an array of choices in becoming parents. You can look into adoption, surrogacy, donor sperm or eggs, and now co-parenting partnerships.

What are Co-Parenting Partnerships?

We've seen a few Hollywood versions of the story, such as "The Next Best Thing" (2000), starring Madonna. A woman is reaching a point in life where she is ready to be a mother but is missing the one element of a father for the child. She turns to a friend, possibly a gay friend to bring a baby into the world and raise the child together.

Now you don't even need to find a willing friend. There are several websites devoted to the purpose of connecting those looking to build a family of a new type including, Family by Design,,, and These services charge singles for access to other singles looking to find a match, however not a romantic one. Rather they are all looking for a partner for parenting together.

Couples become a family through a known donor arrangement. The man and woman meet and get to know each other and see if they have compatibility not for love or marriage but for raising a child together. If they feel comfortable after becoming familiar, they can enter into an agreement together. Most children are conceived through artificial insemination, perhaps at home through low tech methods, or through a medical facility.

The Positive Points of Co-Parenting

For those who have found success with such a modern arrangement the rewards are that they have the child they dreamed of. The child shares their genes and history and the parent does not share the load of parenting alone. They have a partner who will help shoulder the financial and daily responsibilities of raising a child.

Many state that they feel it was a better solution for them than single parenting. They didn't want to go the whole way alone, making all the decisions and bearing all the stresses by themselves. They also don't have to worry about a divorce changing the family dynamic as there was never a romantic entanglement to complicate the situation.

Couples must get to know each other and feel the connection that ensures a good strong friendship that can withstand Couples should the strains that parenthood inevitably brings. There are also questions of logistics and division of time with the child.

It's like a custody agreement without the acrimony of divorce say proponents. Everything from discipline, to holidays, religion, school options and such should be covered. Plus couples need to know how they will decide on issues on which they are deadlocked.

The Downside of Co-Parenting

For some the option seems too modern and risky. First, you should really know the person you have a child with. If you rush into a co-parenting relationship you may have some deep regrets that will adversely affect yours and your child's life forever.

Additionally, parenting is not a simple or straightforward journey. It's almost guaranteed that at some point one or both of the parents will become involved in a serious relationship or marriage. How the introduction of the new person into the family will affect the co-parenting relationship could negatively impact the success of this modern family arrangement.

Much of the success in such partnerships will rely on how well a person can judge the character of the other and how honest each is in presenting themselves, their lifestyles or their background. Of course all those things are also true in traditional couples who parent together.

Things to Consider

If you meet someone through one of the co-parenting partnership sites, you need to take plenty of time to get to know each other in a variety of settings. Perhaps you should take parenting classes together or see a family therapist to discuss important issues that you will face together to see if you are truly compatible.

For those who do all the proper preparation, the rewards can be tremendous. A child, a family, and support for all involved. Modern or not, those are the essential elements for any family.

What do you think about this new trend? Will it become a popular one in the future, or will it die out?

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Annonymous Mar 14, 2013 01:04:33 PM ET

I think it is a bad idea. Kids thrive much better growing up with two parents that love each other and that have conceived a child through their mutual love for on another.

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