A man in Kansas became a hot water-cooler topic, after donating his sperm to a same-sex couple in 2009. The couple had a beautiful baby, “winning the lotto” as one fertility doctor put it. Meanwhile, this particular sperm donor won a child support court case.
Same-Sex Loophole in Some States
The couple split, and now Jennifer Schreiner is a single mom with a baby. Falling on hard times, she filed for state assistance. As a routine practice, the State of Kansas attempts to recoup any benefits paid from the child’s other parent. Since Kansas does not recognize civil unions, it bypassed Schreiner’s former partner. The Department for Children and Families (DCF) went after the sperm donor, William Marotta, who it argued is both the biological and other legal parent.
DCF filed papers to force the Craigslist sperm donor to provide child support. Marotta initially lost that fight in a 2012 state hearing.
Sperm Donor-Child Support Appeal
He appealed in state court, and almost no one expected him to lose. There is no modern historical court precedent for holding a sperm donor liable for the child support from a resulting pregnancy.
Marotta’s lawyer explained another reason for his client not owing.
“If the presumptive parent–in this case, the non-biological mother–had been a man, they never would have gone after the sperm donor,” said Attorney Charles Baylor.
The court ruled that the birth mother’s former partner is responsible for child support, as she was the second parent. It also acknowledged the sperm donor had minimal contact with the child, his name is not listed on the birth certificate as the father, and there is no written agreement outlining any other special circumstance. In fact, there is a document signed by all three parties agreeing the donor will have no rights or responsibilities.
Sperm Donor Could Face Additional Court Case
Schreiner and Kansas’ DCF have not decided if they will appeal the judge’s decision.