Opinion & Debate

Published on October 14th, 2013 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


He wanted a co-parent but no relationship, she wanted a sperm donor – what happened next?

A man who wanted a child but not within a relationship, and a woman who was planning on solo parenthood via a sperm donor have ended up an item.

Julia Cunningham, 33, and Carson Rennick, 36, from London, Ontario, are four months into their courtship and plan to start a family together. Despite Carson placing an ad on a website for ‘co parents’ – where couples have a child together but do not enter into a relationship – the pair actually met through a traditional online dating site.

Carson told the Toronto Star:
“We were both looking for the same thing at the same time and oddly enough we found each other. I still love the concept of co-parenting. But, at the same time, I am glad that I found a partner in life as opposed to just a partner in child rearing.”

Julia said that her single status would never have stopped her from having a child, but she hopes her relationship with Carson works out and that they can raise a family together.

“Sometimes in life when you stop looking for something, that’s when you find it,” she said. “I know, for myself, it was one of those, ‘Do I have to have the nuclear family?’ And, for me, the answer was no. I don’t have to have that. It’s not going to stop me from having a child if I’m not in a relationship. Now, here we are together, and we’re like, ‘Wow, this really works.’ It’s nice and I really hope that it lasts. I’m really enjoying being with him and I really hope we end up being able to be parents together.”

After a failed marriage, and no sign of a new relationship, Julia had planned to become pregnant via donor sperm.

“For years I was thinking the man, the man, the man, I have to have a man. Then I realized I didn’t have to have the nuclear family to be a parent,” she said. “Honestly, I was ready and would have been comfortable moving forward as a single parent or in a co-parenting situation.”

When they first met, Carson was unaware that Julia was also considering raising a child alone, and told her that he had advertised online for a birth mother to have his baby.

“I wasn’t going to shy away from it. What is out there is out there. So for me to lie about it would be absolutely stupid,” he said. “I was a little scared, to be honest, is that really going to push a lot of people away now that it is out there? But once I told her everything, she had the biggest smile on her face.”

Julia said she found Carson’s approach to fatherhood and his honesty ‘a breath of fresh air’ and that she believed  a lot of people became parents without so much thought and planning.

“Whereas, he was actively saying he wanted a family and he’d thought it through. For me, the fact that Carson wants to be a great father is huge for me,” she said.

“We’re still very early in the relationship but every day, honestly, feels like the first. It’s great. I’m extremely happy to have met him and I can’t imagine us not being parents together.”

Carson added: “Ideally, what we’re planning is, around about our one-year anniversary together, we’re going to look at getting an apartment together and if the relationship has lasted through that time we’ll commence serious talk of children. From my standpoint, I feel really comfortable with Julia being the one for me.”

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About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

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