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Sperm donor will fight state over child support obligation

A man who donated sperm to help a same-sex couple have a baby is being held liable for support. The child support demand did not originate from the lesbian parents. The order came from child support enforcement officials in a state, like Texas, where same-sex marriages are not recognized.

The women had an eight-year relationship during which time they adopted several children, some of whom are now adults. The parents desired a biological child in 2009 and advertised on Craigslist for a sperm donor. A man who responded to the ad and agreed to give up all parental rights and obligations fathered the now-3-year-old girl.

The couple's relationship ended in 2010 but the women continued to co-parent. Since same-gender relationships were not recognized by the state, the women could not share parental rights for the adopted or biological children. Fathers' names are not listed on the children's birth certificates.

The parent who gave birth to the girl became too ill to work last year. The former couple was forced to file for state aid including medical assistance. State officials, who could not request support from a non-custodial, same-sex parent the law did not recognize, insisted upon the name of the sperm donor.

The couple was threatened with termination of health benefits for withholding the sperm donor's name. The former same-sex couple complied with the state's request but fully supports the admirable donor's case.

The biological father is scheduled for a preliminary child support hearing this month.

It may be difficult for the state to collect child support if a family court recognizes the donor's agreement to forfeit parental rights is valid. A person without parental rights has no say in a child's upbringing nor do they have any financial responsibilities toward the child.

A decision to force support payments on the donor also may cast a shadow on other infertility and possibly adoption agreements.

Source:, "Kansas sperm donor ordered to pay child support prepares for battle," Joshua Rhett Miller, Dec. 31, 2012

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