In a unique case involving a father’s rights and responsibilities, a court in Kansas has determined that a donor who provided sperm to impregnate a lesbian woman must now pay years of child support for the baby that he helped to create. The decision has made headlines across the country as politicians and the public debate to what extent a biological father’s responsibilities for child support exist.
The parenthood began with a Craigslist ad from a lesbian couple looking for a sperm donor in Topeka, Kansas. They found a man willing to donate his sperm to the couple in an in-home artificial insemination process. But the court determined that since the man did not follow the statutory procedure for artificial insemination, which includes involving a licensed physician, the biological father did not properly waive his rights as a parent and thus he is the legal father of the child. As a result, he may be responsible for around $6,000 in child support payments and future child support payments, along with public assistance provided to the child by the state.
Artificial insemination by a doctor can be very expensive, with a single attempt costing as much as $3,000, so some mothers attempt an at-home procedure. When the law creates rules for the artificial insemination process and they are not followed, an anonymous sperm donor could be ordered to pay child support. Sperm donors and those undergoing artificial insemination must be careful to follow the rules in their jurisdictions.
In this case a family law attorney represented the donor in the case and will continue to fight for his legal rights. Houston residents usually face child support issues when their financial situations drastically change. In such a situation, they should seek legal help from an experienced attorney to modify their child support or they risk serious penalties.
Source: Time, “U.S. sperm donor told to pay child support,” David Stout, Jan. 23, 2014