As Novac/Tena Sarcevic writes on the 19th of January, 2020, it was back in 2011 when Ivan Fatovic, an American Croat sat down for dinner with a few of his female friends in New York. They hadn’t seen each other for a long time, so they had plenty to talk about. Warm friendly smiles, jokes and laughs over a bottle of wine. The conversation started off as it usually does, about what has happened to anyone since the last time they saw each other, how their families are, what’s new at work, etc.
Then, his female friends, back then all single and around the age of 35, began to talk about love and relationships in the manner of the hit American show “Sex and the City”.
Each of them had an aspiration to become a mother one day, and they were all aware that if they wanted to fulfill their wish, they didn’t have long left to do it because of their ticking biological clocks. All of the women were beautiful and successful, but they just couldn’t find the man they wanted to have a baby with.
They were looking for the real deal, in real life as well as through various dating apps. Tinder, Bumble, OK Cupid, they’d tried them all. But it seemed to them that the men on these apps were only interested in a bit of fun and nothing serious or further than that.
“These apps are more appropriate for people in their twenties,” concluded one of Ivan’s friends, who felt particularly frustrated about her relationship status.
”After three drinks, I’ve started telling guys that in the next five years I want to have three children. I don’t care that people don’t want to hear that on the first date,” said one of the women. She was persistent in her position that it was better to express such wishes at the beginning than to wait for months, or even years, and then realise that the other party doesn’t even want the same.
”Ivan, I don’t care, I’m going to find someone who feels the same way I do,” she told him. He jokingly replied that she didn’t need Tinder but the Date and Disseminate app, to which everyone laughed.
”Is there anything like that out there? That’s not a bad idea at all, I’d join such a network immediately,” a friend told him. And that is where the idea of an application to be used exclusively by women who are ready to bring their offspring into the world without waiting around for Mr. Right was born. A year after that meeting with his friends, Ivan Fatovic, an American Croat, launched a website and the Modamily app.
It defines its platform as a kind of bridge between the dating and fertility industries. What people have in common is that everyone using the app is ready to start a family, and by using the app, they are looking for people to start a family with, as well as working out the methods by which they will do so.
”Modamily can help people start a family by getting them into a relationship and then they simply decide on the next step, but we also help them out if they’ve opted for one of the alternative options. We educate them about freezing their eggs, testing their genes, helping them find a surrogate mother, a sperm donor or an egg donor. And they may also opt for so-called co-parenting, an option where you find a best friend you decide to have a child with. The latter case is particularly popular with some friends, one of whom is gay. This is where the ”Will and Grace” moment comes into it,” the 44-year-old American Croat explained. He currently resides in Los Angeles and has been living exclusively from this business for eight years now.
Modamily, which is available worldwide, is a far cry from the classic dating app. When signing up, you not only answer basic questions about your own sexual and romantic preferences, but also address more complex topics, such as your attitudes toward child-rearing or religion.
”The app asks you how important religion is to you, whether you want to bring up your child in the spirit of the religion you grew up with, whether see your child attending public or private school, whether you want to live with the potential person with whom you have a child or you want them to live nearby, who is going to pay for what, how you’d like childcare to look, etc. These are important questions that many women in their forties don’t want to ask the guy they’re dating, because they don’t want them to think they’re being attacked, but they still want to know,” explained Ivan Fatovic.
Registration on the app is free. Before you can meet someone, you first have to like each other, and if that happens, you have 24 hours to report to the other party. After one day goes by, you can’t see the people who liked you unless you pay a 30 US dollar monthly subscription.
”A subscription lets you see everyone who liked you, but it also has some other benefits. For example, you might get more search filters. You can search for single women between the ages of 30 and 40 who live within 100 kilometres of you for example, and if you pay for a subscription you can search for multiple criteria; for example, to see who is Catholic, who is of a certain race, who went to Harvard and earns a certain amount of money annually,” explained Ivan Fatovic, who is Modamily’s only full-time employee.
This application is quite progressive when considering the options it offers, such as the aforementioned co-parenting. That’s why, as the American Croat added, it was targeted by Rush Limbaugh, a conservative and host of talk shows and radio shows and, among other things, a friend of Donald Trump.
“He said we were demolishing the American family institution,” Ivan Fatovic recalled. But other reactions have been almost positive from the very start, and he wholeheartedly disagrees with Limbaugh’s criticism.
”We don’t lead people to make any type of decision, nor do we claim that it’s best have a child without being married. Nor do we claim that people need to be married in order to have a child. We just offer alternative options, we help people see all their options. Nobody is going to meet someone via the app and make a baby next week. People get to know each other, become best friends, trust each other, and decide for themselves what they want to do. And I believe that at least half of the straight people who find themselves on the app do indeed develop a classic romantic relationship,” explained Ivan Fatovic.
”I’ve seen situations where parents have been fiercely quarreling and hating each other for years after their divorce. This is where the child finds themselves stuck in the middle and suffers the most. But I also know of cases where former partners have remained friends and are jointly caring for the child. Modamily is very useful for finding people whose views you agree with so it reduces the chances of misunderstandings. To more traditional people, this may still be unusual, but I believe that young people understand it. More and more people want to have children, but they don’t necessarily see themselves with one person for their entire lives. Maybe the person you want children with is different from the one you will grow old with,” added this innovative American Croat.
”In addition to classic relationships, it happens that people are looking for a sperm donor or an egg donor. These can be straight couples who have fertility problems or, for example, lesbian couples who need a sperm donor. So, they want to be parents themselves, they don’t need that third party, but they want to get to know her, or maybe they believe the child will want to know who their biological parent is before the age of 18. Then they sometimes suggest that the biological parent should still be involved in the life of the child, but more through a role more akin to that of an aunt or uncle than to the parent,” Ivan Fatovic noted.
His app is used by about 25,000 people around the world, and he estimates that about one hundred babies were born owing to it. 67 percent of the members are women, one-third of whom are under 35 and the rest older. The men using the app are a little older, on average, between the ages of 30 and 40, but there are those who, in their 60s, have decided they would like a child.
About 65 percent of the this American Croat’s app’s users are from the US and Canada, and the rest are from around the world.
”We are strong in Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Australia, with several thousand users in each of these countries. There are only a few in Croatia, but I believe the number will grow over time,” noted the American Croat, adding that he adores Croatia.
His mother is from the island of Korcula and his dad is from the City of Zadar and he goes to Split every summer because they have an apartment on Znjan. His parents met in America, so he was born in New York, but he attended elementary school in Dubrovnik because they moved there briefly. Therefore, his Croatian is very fluent. At one time he often came to Zagreb, too.
”It seems to me that Croats, unlike Americans, are less obsessed with work, they’re people who know how to take a break and enjoy the great things life has to offer,” he says when asked about the character of Croats, adding that he is sorry that many great young minds often they leave the country for work elsewhere. Croats and Americans, he believes, have certain cultural similarities.
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