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Do sperm donors have to pay child support?
If Kansas authorities get their way, that may be the case.
Four years ago, William Marotta donated sperm to a lesbian couple after answering an online ad. A baby girl was born, and now the donor is suddenly faced with a child support bill, reports the Associated Press.
Whether the 46-year-old Topeka man will have to pay the $6,000 in back child support, as well as ongoing financial support, may hinge upon the fact that no doctors were used in the artificial insemination.
Marotta said that when he answered the ad and donated his sperm, he reached an agreement with the lesbian couple that he would waive all of his parental rights and financial obligations, writes the AP.
But this apparently is not good enough for the state. Kansas officials say that because Marotta did not work through a clinic or doctor, as required by state law for artificial insemination, he is technically the baby's father. Under a 1994 Kansas law, only when a sperm donor works with a licensed physician is the donor not considered to be the father.
In Marotta's case, it's reported that he simply dropped off a container of his semen at the couple's home, and the mother successfully inseminated herself.
A law professor says that unless a donor follows the laws of the state, there is "strict liability for sperm," reports the AP. In other words, unless you work with a doctor, the sperm donor will be considered the father. The only issue may be whether the agreement reached between Marotta and the couple is enough to overcome the paternal presumption.
Sperm donors and those undergoing artificial insemination must be careful to follow the rules in their jurisdiction. While in the movies you may see couples asking friends to donate sperm or carry an egg, the reality can be very different. Without following the proper protocols, donors and carriers may find themselves legally responsible for the child.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.