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Thread: Kansas Wants Sperm Donor to Pay Child Support

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    mjw
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    Default Kansas Wants Sperm Donor to Pay Child Support



    The state of Kansas is seeking child support from a man who says he signed away all parental rights when he donated sperm to a lesbian couple.

    "It came out of the blue. He was absolutely floored," attorney Ben Swinnen said of his client William Marotta.

    Marotta, 46, met Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner in 2009 when he responded to a Craigslist ad from a lesbian couple in Topeka, Kan., who were offering $50 per sperm donation, according to legal documents.

    Marotta and his wife met with the women and he agreed to donate to them without accepting the money, Swinnen said.

    All three signed a sperm donor contract that stated that he would have no paternal rights and would be in no way responsible for any child that resulted from the donation.

    "Jennifer and Angie further agree to indemnify William and hold him harmless for any child support payments demanded of him by any other person or entity, public or private, including any district attorney's office or other state or county agency, regardless of the circumstances or said demand," the agreement read.

    Marotta donated and Schreiner gave birth to a little girl through artificial insemination, according to court documents. The issue that would later become a legal factor, however, is that the artificial insemination was not performed by a licensed physician, which Swinnen said Marotta did not know at the time.

    "He sporadically heard that the child was born, but that was about it," Swinnen said. "He had no contact with the child."

    "Three years forward, the couple sought state assistance for the child and the Kansas Department of Children and Families sought out of them the name of the father and said they would not provide assistance unless they provide the name," Swinnen said.

    The women gave the state Marotta's name and on Oct. 3, attorney Mark McMillan filed a petition on behalf of the Department of Children and Families that claimed that Marotta was the baby's father and needed to support her.

    The filing said that the state had spent $189 on the baby from July 2012 to September 2012 and nearly $6,000 in medical assistance, which Marotta had a duty to pay.

    Swinnen said Marotta was "absolutely floored" by the petition, especially after signing the agreement.

    Marotta's attorneys claimed that as the sperm donor, he had no responsibility to pay. But the state shot back saying that the agreement signed was invalid because the artificial insemination was not performed by a licensed physician, according to legal documents.

    "The state does not recognize the contract. We'll see if the courts in Kansas do," Swinnen said. "We have filed a motion to dismiss. We hope to prevail, but this is the first round."

    Kansas law states that the donor is "treated in law" as if he were not the father if the donation of semen is provided to a licensed physician.

    Marotta's attorneys protested this requirement.

    "If, as the petitioner alleges, the use of a licensed physician is a primary requirement...then any woman in Kansas could have sperm donations shipped to her house, inseminate herself without a licensed physician and seek out the donor for financial support because her actions made him a father, not a sperm donor," they wrote. "This goes against the very purpose of the statute to protect sperm donors as well as birth mothers."

    The attorneys point to a similar but converse 2007 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. In that case, a sperm donor sought parental rights after making a semen donation to a woman. The woman had a child after the artificial insemination was performed by a licensed physician. The man was denied parental rights.

    Even though the woman in the 2007 case used a licensed physician, Marotta's lawyers emphasized that Marotta did the same thing as the man in the 2007 case and cannot be held responsible for what the woman did with the donation.

    Bauer and Schreiner did not respond to requests for comment. A representative for the Department of Children and Families said that they could not comment on any specific cases.

    A hearing regarding Marotta's motion to dismiss is scheduled for Jan. 8 in Shawnee County District Court.

    Kansas Wants Sperm Donor to Pay Child Support - ABC News


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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Elite Member JazzyGirl's Avatar
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    Default Child support claim rankles sperm donor to lesbian couple

    Child support claim rankles sperm donor to lesbian couple - Yahoo! News

    KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Reuters) - A Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple so they could have a child said on Wednesday he is shocked the state is now trying to make him pay child support.

    William Marotta, 46, donated sperm to Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer under a written agreement that he would not be considered the father of the child nor liable for child support. A daughter, now 3, was born to Schreiner.

    But in October, the state of Kansas filed a petition seeking to have Marotta declared the father of the child and financially responsible for her after the couple encountered money difficulties.

    Marotta will ask the court in a hearing January 8 to dismiss the claim, which centers on a state law that the sperm must be donated through a licensed physician in order for the father to be free of any later financial obligations. Marotta gave a container of semen to the couple, who found him on Craigslist, instead of donating through a doctor or clinic.

    The case is seen as having repercussions for other sperm donors. Sperm banks routinely provide sperm to people who want to conceive a child on the understanding that the donors are not responsible for the children.

    Kansas is seeking child support from Marotta, including about $6,000 in medical expenses related to the child's birth, according to its petition.

    "This was totally unexpected," Marotta said in a phone interview. "The very first thing that went through my mind was that no good deed goes unpunished."
    The case has attracted national attention. Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said Wednesday "it is unfortunate and unfair" that Kansas is seeking money from a sperm donor.
    "It certainly might have a negative effect on other men's willingness to help couples who need a donor, which would be harmful to everyone," Minter said.
    "I also think it undermines everyone's respect for the law when you see it operate so arbitrarily."

    Kansas officials are required under the law to determine the father of a child when someone seeks state benefits, said Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Department for Children and Families. The couple was compelled to provide that information, which led to investigation of the sperm donation.

    Marotta should be declared the father and subject to financial claims because he donated the sperm directly to the women and not through a physician, as required by Kansas law, the state's petition states.

    Marotta said he's had virtually no contact with the child, but that he and Schreiner have remained cordial. He said she was pressured by the state to provide his name as the sperm donor.

    "To me, ethics need to override rules," he said.
    Lawyers for Marotta argue that he had no parental rights because of his agreement with the couple and cannot be held financially responsible.

    They cite a 2007 case in which the Kansas Supreme Court ruled against a sperm donor seeking parental rights because he did not have any such agreement with the mother, lawyers for Marotta said.

    "So now, we are flipping the argument around," Marotta attorney Ben Swinnen said Wednesday.
    If the father had no legal parental rights in the 2007 case, Marotta should be declared to have no parental obligations in the current case, Swinnen said.

    Marotta, a race car mechanic, responded to an ad on Craigslist from someone offering to pay $50 for sperm donations, but he made the donation for free. Marotta said he and his wife have no children of their own but have fostered a daughter. Marotta said he was simply trying to help a couple wanting a child.
    (Editing by James B. Kelleher and Lisa Shumaker)

    WOW!

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    where are the mothers? are they the ones suing him for child support or is the child now a ward of the state and the state is trying to get money from the donor?

    regardless of the specifics of the case, this is bullshit. i know a lot of people disagree but i think sperm donation should be anonymous and the donor shouldn't have any obligation at all toward the child. nor should the child ever have the right to find out the identity of its biological father. but then i also think adoptions should be totally closed unless the biological parents agree to being identified.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    ^ The state is suing because the moms have applied for welfare/state assistance.

    I think this is just crazy, and I totally agree with Sput RE: sperm donation being anonymous and the donor not having any obligation at all toward the child.
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    oh yeah, i just saw that, guess i skimmed through it the first time.

    what bullshit. but also, the mothers shouldn't have identified him. one of them should have made up a story about getting drunk and having anonymous sex or something.
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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    Sperm donors can choose to be anonymous if they choose that and they have no legal obligation to pay support if they follow the law. In this case, the women advertised on craigslist. A stranger agreed to help and made his "donation". They signed a contract they made up themselves. They went home and did the insemination on their own. They did this to skirt the legal process and avoid being forced to use an approved agency that is sanctioned by the state laws. The State then has a law that required parents to pay support for kids instead of using State funds to support the kid. They took a risk and it worked fine until the mother applied for aid. The contract they made themselves does not hold up to the current state laws so he is being held accountable. It will be interesting to see the final court ruling. If they had used an agency, this would not be an issue.

    This is why I say people in college should major in Bioethics. It is the future as more of these situations come up with changing technology. I understand the States need to set laws about donors. Without the laws men could offer sperm for free to thousands with no tracking in place.
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    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    Is this the same story? Kansas Wants Sperm Donor to Pay Child Support

    It's hard to understand how this is even an issue, but after reading sluce's story I guess I can see where the lines get blurred.
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    i think it's stupid that they should have to go through an agency. it should be enough to have your friend spooge into a turkey baster, and then you sign an agreement and get it notarised or something. if everyone involved agrees that the guy is merely a donor and will not have a parental role, that should be enough.
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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    The reason they won't do that is becase then any woman can have a baby with her boyfriend, file for benefits and say he is not her boyfriend and just donated the sperm. I agree it is not necessary to pay for the services of an agency. They can simply allow contracts but they must be submitted at the time of the birth. That way the birth certificate will not list a father and it will be legally known that the parents have decided the father is a donor with no legal responsibility for the child. It's a double edged sword to protect the people involved, as well as protect that State.
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    oh, i definitely agree those contracts should be submitted at the time of the birth, or even earlier. but it should be enough to make the contract yourself, have everyone sign, and then get it notarised - kind of like those last will and testament home kits or something.
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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    I believe that is what will come of this case. Reproductive technology is moving too fast for the law to keep up. They pass laws that are short sighted and cannot possibly cover all scenarios. That's when you hope common sense will prevail.
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    I was watching this on the news -- ironically, while I had my daughter at the pediatrician today. (She has "Fifth Disease", by the way, which is not nearly as cool as "The Fifth Element:"). Anyway, the thing was that one of the hosts was saying that if you go through official channels, it costs you $3,000 to do the insemination. So, these enterprising, thrifty people were trying to save themselves some bucks by going on Craigslist (like everybody else who does business through Craigslist).

    For the life of me, I can't see what's in it for a guy to donate his stuff on Craigslist, especially through a somewhat informal contract. Instinctively, I would think that it would come back to bite you. I even think about that with regard to sperm donation clinics, but maybe I'm paranoid.

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    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    For the life of me, I can't see what's in it for a guy to donate his stuff on Craigslist, especially through a somewhat informal contract. Instinctively, I would think that it would come back to bite you. I even think about that with regard to sperm donation clinics, but maybe I'm paranoid.
    My first thought as well--why would anyone think it was a good idea to donate sperm to a stranger via Craigslist for $50? At least with a clinic you can remain anonymous. Although I don't know why anyone would want to do that either. But I've always imagined some starving college student who donates blood and sperm for a few extra bucks, not some 40-something married guy. Really, what the hell was he thinking?
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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    I saw him interviewed with his wife. They have no children and have no desire to do so. They felt it would be wonderful to help these women out. The women have many more kids (6-8, I can't remember which) but wanted another. They then split up. He refused the $50 so he was never paid for the sperm. The 2 women are still parenting together.
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