Specialist agency matching strangers together to have babies is struggling to me…

Specialist agency matching strangers together to have babies is struggling to me…

A recent boom in the number of would-be parents who are looking to share a child with a platonic co-parent has left UK agencies with an unprecedented demand.

Founder of the UK-based coParenting Agency Gillian McCallum had to branch out her previous business in order to respond to the rising desire among adults to meet someone solely for the purpose of becoming a parent.

Thousands of couples in the UK have already taken the plunge to have a baby with someone they are not in a romantic relationship with – to avoid possible acrimonious divorces and instead enjoy a partnership in which both sides are equally committed to raising their child. 

Now Ms McCallum says there are increasing numbers of people in their thirties turning to agencies such as hers after Covid-19 lockdowns meant people ‘had their fertility stamped and trodden on.’

‘Men and women were saying: “If you can introduce me to someone who wants to have a baby in the next six months, that would be great”,’ she told the Times.

Founder of the UK-based coParenting Agency Gillian McCallum branched out her previous business in order to respond to the rising desire among adults to meet someone solely for the purpose of becoming a parent

Mc McCallum is far from alone in tapping into this demand. UK-based PollenTree claims to have helped the parents of 12,000 babies meet and says it has 10,000 to 15,000 active monthly users. 

She also runs a romantic matchmaking agency, Drawing Down the Moon, where she has also seen a significant increase in requests for platonic couplings since 2021. 

Former lawyer Patrick Harrison, 56, quit his job to set up the agency for adults who fear they may have ‘missed the boat’. He now predicts that in 20 years, platonic co-parenting will ‘be a first choice for many’. 

Interest in such arrangements rocketed during the pandemic, with co-parenting matchmaking sites experiencing a 50 percent surge during lockdowns. 

The unusual parenting style has many success stories. MailOnline previously spoke to Nick Farrow, 54, who shares his eight-year-old daughter Milly with his platonic partner Rae, 50.

The gardener and writer from Bournemouth wanted children ever since he entered his 30s, but was left shocked after his long-term relationship with his girlfriend broke down when he was 43. 

‘Suddenly single in my 40s, I was worried I wouldn’t find the right person in time and I didn’t want to be an old dad,’ Mr Farrow said.

After the end of his long-term relationship, he confessed he began dating with ‘baby goggles’ on – but then was told about the idea of co-parenting by a lesbian friend.

Nick Farrow, 54, used an agency to meet his co-parent Rae, with whom he shares their eight-year-old daughter Milly (pictured as a baby)

Nick Farrow, 54, used an agency to meet his co-parent Rae, with whom he shares their eight-year-old daughter Milly (pictured as a baby)

After meeting Rae and getting to know her for months, the pair drew up a co-parenting agreement which governed everything from how often Mr Farrow would see his child to the amount of money he agreed to pay to her. 

‘We have the exact same value system,’ he says. ‘We are both liberal, we had similar communication styles. I could tell she was a good person and we felt that we could be friends, which was critical.’

Because of their platonic relationship, Mr Farrow was not even in the room when Rae gave birth to Milly – but now sees her two to three times a week. 

‘We decided that I would have her every other weekend and a day or two in between but now I see Milly two or three times a week. This will likely change as she gets older and we hope it will be more like 50/50 in the future. It does feel like a partnership.’ 

He acknowledged that co-parenting would not work for everyone, but added: ‘Sometimes you don’t have the luxury to get to know someone over six months who then may or may not want a child.

‘This set-up enables you to crack on with parenthood and it should be seen as an acceptable choice.’

Meanwhile Kaisa Henriikka, 38, told the Times she has wanted to have children for more than a decade: ‘I feel like I’m a mother already but I just don’t have a baby.’

The IT sales professional, who has lived in London for seven years, decided to stop looking for love and prioritise looking for a co-parent two months ago.

She’s already received ‘countless’ offers and says she is excited that the relationship means parents ‘are equally committed’. 

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