What is platonic co-parenting?

Emmy Award-winning journalist Van Jones recently announced the birth of his daughter. But Jones decided to have the child with a friend, rather than a romantic partner — which has people wondering what exactly “platonic co-parenting” means.

While Jones was previously married to ex-wife Jana Carter and co-parents two children with her, he wanted another. The 53-year-old revealed he and his friend Noemi decided to raise a baby girl together. Here’s everything you need to know about platonic co-parenting. 

“After the COVID lockdown, I got clear that I wanted another kid. I discovered that my friend Noemi also wanted a baby,” Jones told People. “So we decided to join forces and become conscious co-parents. It’s a concept that I hope more people will explore and consider.”

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What is platonic co-parenting? 

Platonic co-parenting is when adults who aren’t romantically linked agree to raise a child together. This practice has been common in the LGBTQIA+ community for decades, but more recently, it seems heterosexual couples have adopted the method of child-rearing.

Some people choose lifelong friends, while others may even pay an online service to find a platonic match to start a family with. Platonic co-parents may opt to adopt, use sperm and egg donation, surrogacy or conceive together on their own. 

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The benefits of platonic co-parenting

According to All About Fertility, platonic co-parenting allows interested parties to play a pivotal role in a child’s life. Men can have a more active role beyond just being sperm donors, while single women can become parents without getting married. It also allows members of the LGBTQIA+ community to become parents without requiring romantic relationships with the opposite sex. 

According to The Guardian, platforms like Modamily and PollenTree, which facilitate co-parenting, have seen a 30 to 50% uptick in traffic since the start of the pandemic. Modamily has 30,000 members worldwide, while PollenTree has 53,000. 

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How does platonic co-parenting work legally? 

Who the child’s legal parent and guardian is can have significant ramifications regarding financial responsibility, citizenship, inheritance and other court matters.

The Law Office of Keoni Souza recommends interested platonic co-parents seek a solid legal arrangement before they take the big step. 

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Platonic co-parenting has increased overall since 2015

Professor Susan Golombok, director of the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Family Research, studies non-nuclear family units. Golombok noticed that platonic co-parenting began to increase in 2015. 

“It was a gradual realization that this was a new phenomenon picking up speed,” Golombok told The Guardian

The professor said that parents’ relationships with each other and their bonds greatly impact children, but “it is possible, though, that taking away romantic baggage could even make for a more stable environment.”

The key to a successful arrangement, much like in any relationship, is communication. 

“Very early findings suggest that how well the parents communicate with each other and collaborate over child care seems to make a big difference,” Golombok told The Guardian

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