Many children in Minnesota grow up believing they will one day fall in love, marry and have children of their own. For some couples, however, a problem with infertility or simple biology prevents them from conceiving a child on their own. As a result, some individuals or couples may turn to a sperm donor or surrogate in their quest to have a child.
A man who acted as a sperm donor in the conception of a lesbian couple's child is currently at the center of a child support dispute that has drawn national attention. At issue is whether the man should be required to pay child support to the biological child he fathered through an insemination process.
In 2010, seeking to have a child of their own, the lesbian couple posted a Craigslist ad seeking a sperm donor. A man answered the ad and agreed to help the couple and signed a contract in which he agreed to be a sperm donor. Included in the contract, was language absolving the man of any parental or financial responsibility in the event a child was conceived.
Using the man's sperm, the couple welcomed a child into their family. When the couple fell on tough times and applied for federal assistance, however, the state where they live went after the 47-year-old man who acted as the sperm donor for child support payments.
A judge recently ruled that, regardless of the existing contract, the man is legally required to financially support the child he fathered. The reasoning behind the judge's decision hinges on the fact that the insemination process did not occur under the supervision of a licensed doctor. In her decision on the matter the judge wrote, "the parties failed to conform to statutory requirements". The man plans to appeal.
This case deals with a rather unique set of circumstances, but helps illustrate how complex matters related to child support can be. Likewise, same-sex couples in Minnesota would be wise to seek the advice and assistance of a legal professional who can assist in child custody and child support matters which may be more complex and require special attention.
Source: Business Insider, "Court Orders A Craigslist Sperm Donor To Pay Child Support Even Though The Mothers Of The Child Disagree," Caroline Moss, Jan. 24, 2014New York Daily News, "Kansas sperm donor to appeal ruling that he must pay child support," Jan. 24, 2014