New Trend: Parenthood Minus The Romance


From our friends at! By Betsy Shaw.

The New York Times Style section never fails to expose, or even invent, the latest trend. This week’s feature about people “hooking up” for the sole purpose of becoming parents, romantics need not apply, is no exception.

From what I gather, this parenting arrangement is reminiscent of a business deal: Two mature people with a common goal find each other, usually online via a slew of newish social network websites, and come together as partners whose chief objective is creating and raising a baby, or two.

Just as with conventional dating sites, these parenting-partnership sites help like-minded people– often men and women in their late 30s or early 40s– connect. In lieu of courtship, couples vet each other thoroughly, then, if it feels right, head straight to the family finish line.

Two such modern-day parenting partners, Dawn Pieke and Fabian Blue, are profiled in the article:

They first met in person on Thanksgiving 2011. “I felt like this guy was my relative or long-lost brother, but then again he was also a stranger,” Ms. Pieke said. They continued the dialogue: reading each other’s medical charts, undergoing fertility tests. He moved into a separate bedroom in her home, and, she said, four weeks later, “He handed me a semen sample, we hugged, and I went into my bedroom and inseminated myself.”

What resulted is an equally-shared daughter, named Indigo.

Some of these partnerships come with contracts, anticipating every step until the child is an adult. Others may choose to wing it.

If you think about it, it’s easy to imagine there are loads of people out there who’ve given up on finding the love of their life but still long to be parents. So it makes sense to find others in the same boat, get together and make it happen, without all the messy fuss of personal relationships.

But is it a good idea?

Some say, “bad idea.” Others say, “why not?”

Those who disagree liken it to bringing a child into an already-divorced family, where the two parents will be distracted with navigating separate social and love lives. Proponents think these parenting arrangements might actually spare the resulting child the future emotional burden of seemingly-inevitable parental divorce.

It’s all a bit much for me, the child of two, still happily-married octogenarians, to contemplate. I realize there are no guarantees in this life, whether you’re married or in love or locked into a business deal. And our current model of love, then marriage, then baby has not proven to be fail-proof by any measure when it comes to providing a stable environment for children to grow up in.

That said, the premeditated absence of any loving relationship whatsoever between two parents is a hard one to grasp.

What do you think about the concept of parenting partnerships? Is romance a requirement for good parenting? Could this be our inevitable future? I’m seeing a movie plot about an entire modern society of “parenting arrangements”….


Filed under: Partners


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  1. Madylane

    I joined to look for a co-parent. I was lucky in that when I told a dear friend about my search he immediately said he’d like to be my co-parent. We have a legal contract together that we took from online resources like divorce custody arrangements amongst other places. We have covered things that likely married parents would not discuss until after their child is born. We have a lot of love for each other as well just not romantic (he’s gay). This is not a better or worse way to parent. For me it is just the way my family will be built.

  2. Danielle

    Um, earth-shattering revelation: there’s an awful lotta human beings out there who’re the result of a one-night stand. Frankly, I don’t consider that a “loving relationship” in the way you’re speaking of; but perhaps you do equate lust as being closer to love than a “parenting partnership”.

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