Sperm Donor or Father?

Four years ago, a Kansas man donated sperm, but now the courts want him to pay child support.

Another example of how technology is several steps ahead of law, because these questions have yet to be fully answered.  If he is “just” a sperm donor, he is not on the hook—or so we thought.

Nearly four years ago, Marotta donated sperm in a plastic cup to a lesbian couple after responding to an ad they had placed on Craigslist.

Marotta and the women, Topekans Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, signed an agreement holding him harmless for support of the child, a daughter Schreiner bore after being artificially inseminated.

But the Kansas Department for Children and Families is now trying to have Marotta declared the 3-year-old girl’s father and forced to pay child support. The case is scheduled for a Jan. 8 hearing in Shawnee County District Court.

If Marotta were declared the father, would that eliminate Bauer’s obligations to the child?  This will be an interesting case to follow, but is also an important lesson for future donors.  If it is held that the donors are liable for the child’s costs, then donations will necessarily plummet.  Another example of basic economic incentives at work: If the costs of donations increase, then donations will decrease.

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