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Sperm donors and child support

In 2009, a Topeka, Kan., man responded to an ad placed on Craigslist by a lesbian couple seeking a sperm donor so that they could conceive a child. After the three met and reached an agreement, the donor drove to the couple's home and gave them his sperm donation. The procedure was not done through a sperm bank or hospital, and no doctor was present. Years later, the couple separated. After at least one of the mothers applied for public assistance, the donor got hit with a child support order.

Most states, including Georgia, have laws requiring that when a person with a child applies for public assistance, one parent must identify the other parent. That way, the state can seek child support from that person because public policy supports the idea of having a parent, not the state, support children. However, child support laws typically do not apply to sperm donors.

In Kansas, however, a sperm donor is considered a parental figure unless the insemination occurs under a doctor's care. When a donor goes through an authorized sperm bank, he signs paperwork relinquishing all parental rights, and he is not liable for support. Donors must go through a complex screening process, and they are paid a fee for their contributions.

The decision to have a child is one of the most important decisions a couple makes. In the case of same-sex couples, the choice of a sperm or egg donor is almost equally important. One way to avoid problems is to draft a contract outlining the rights and obligations of each party. An experienced family law attorney may be able to help draft such a contract and ensure that it is thorough in order to prevent a plight like that of the Kansas man.

Source: WUSA, "After State of Kansas Hits Sperm Donor William Marotta Up For Child Support: The ABCs of Sperm Donation," Debra Alfarone, Feb. 9, 2013

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