Friday, January 4, 2013
As I have previously discussed, William Marotta donated sperm to a lesbian couple so that they could have a baby of their own. He also signed a contract with the two to ensure that he would be relieved of providing financially for the child. When of one of partners, Jennifer Schreiner, had financial difficulties caring for the child, she applied for welfare. The State of Kansas refused, arguing that the biological father should care for the child. Marotta contested those claims arguing that he signed a contract stating that he would not have to care for the child. The state agency that deals with child support claimed that the contract was not valid because the sperm donation and insemination were not performed by a licensed physician, pursuant to state law.
Courts across the country have somewhat already grappled with this issue. Typically, courts have held that where a man donates sperm and maintains a relationship with the child, he can be required to financially support the child through child support. In many of the cases, the sperm donor often sent aid to the mother and child and would sometimes be referred to as a "dad" or "papa". Recently, the State of Texas held that a police officer did not have to pay child support for a child he conceived with a woman he formerly knew by donating sperm to her. By the time that the suit was filed, the officer had already moved on with his life. In fact, the suit came as a bit of a shock to him. Whether this trend among the states will help Marotta remains to be seen.
See Isolde Raftery, Kansas Demands That Sperm Donor Pay Child Support, NBC News, Dec. 31, 2012.
Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.