They hardly know each other, they may or may not end up living together, but he and she want a baby. These newly formed baby-making partnerships will be criticized, but there is logic to them.

“Mr. Williams and Ms. Hope are among a new breed of online daters, looking not for love, but rather a partner with whom to build a non-nuclear family,” reports Abby Ellin in her article, “Making a Child, Minus the Couple.”

Williams and Hope, both single, want a biological child without the entanglement and heartache that so often come with love, marriage, and the traditional family as we think of it.  According to the article, some of the men are gay, some of the women “older.”  This arrangement is different from women who don’t wait for Mr. Right, use a sperm donor, and raise their child alone.  In the non-nuclear family both man and woman, ideally, raise the child and contribute financially. Ms. Hope said that she was looking for a man who lives in her area and “has his financial stuff together.”

Based on the number of websites trying to meet the desire to be a parent without falling in love, the idea of having a baby without being in a loving relationship appears to be catching on. New networks include,,—you get the picture. 

These arrangements constitute a parenting partnership, much like forming a company and can be formalized (or not) with a detailed contract that covers such issues as child support and specific living arrangements, as Ellin points out.

Many of you commented vehemently against making the choice to be a single mother in my post, On Not Waiting for Mr. Right.  Will you have the same reaction to a man, often a gay man, who wants a biological child and wants to raise and have that child in his life? And, for the sake of argument, what if the mother or father finds true love years after the partnership baby is born? Would the breakup of this non-nuclear twosome be any more difficult and heart wrenching for the children than the dissolution of a husband-wife union?

The non-nuclear family is complicated, but with all the new definitions of family today, it doesn’t seem so unrealistic to me. 


Ellin, Abby. “Making a Child, Minus the Couple.” The New York Times. 8 February 2013.

Copyright 2013 by Susan Newman

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