D is for Donor.
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D is for Donor.

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Every once in awhile someone asks me, “Who’s the Dad?”. My first thought is ALWAYS… there has never been a single circumstance where that question is a good choice. I have to put on my best social work voice, do my best to give them grace, and try to educate. I try to understand that not everyone understands different family structures and the common terminology. My child doesn’t have a Dad, he has a donor. Sometimes, D is for Donor.

Donor or Dad?

Now, the terms might seem interchangeable but there is more to it because sometimes D is for Donor and not dad. A Donor is defined in the Merriam-Webster defines it as “one used as a source of biological material (such as blood or an organ)”. In contrast the the highly sterile of donor, a dad is “a male parent”. A parent is defined as “a person who brings up and cares for another”. See the difference? Sperm Donors and Egg Donors donate genetic material. They have no legal rights or financial obligations to the outcome of the procedure. Parents are caregivers, the people who raise them, who care for them day to day.

If not dad, then what?

When my son’s Mama and I decided to start a family, we had 2 sets of ovaries and no sperm. We used a donor for sperm. Donors are wonderful and amazing in their own right. No matter the reason for donation, they create the opportunity for folks who may not be able to have children otherwise. Without my donor, I wouldn’t have my favorite little person. Dad is not his title, he is his donor, and that title is honored in our family. Interestingly, this isn’t just a same-sex parent problem. Single Mother’s By Choice often get this question a lot and I can only imagine the horror that heterosexual couples would feel if someone asked them “Who’s the Dad?” after using a donor to conceive.

Donor Etiquette

  1. Never ask “Who’s the Dad?”, to anyone, for any reason.
  2. If you don’t know how to refer to the donor, ask how they would like you to refer to the donor. All families tackle it differently.
  3. Respect what they tell you. If they refer to the donor as “Uncle Tim” or just the donor, you should too.
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