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No good deed goes unpunished: Sperm donor must pay child support

Three years ago, a man read an online classified ad by a female same-sex couple asking for someone to be their sperm donor for artificial insemination. He agreed to do it, and dropped off his donation at the women's house, where he and they entered into a written agreement indicating that he would have no parental rights or obligations.

Now four years later, in a case that is making headlines in Illinois and nationwide, he has been notified of two things. First, congratulations, it's a girl. Second, the state wants child support payments from him to recoup public funds used to raise the child.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families takes the position that the now 3-year-old girl is his daughter, so he is financially responsible for her. DCF argues that the written agreement he entered into with the two women was not legal because no doctor was involved.

In this case, the women carried out the artificial insemination themselves in their home, without using the services of a doctor or a fertility clinic. Had they worked with a doctor or clinic, state law would have absolved the sperm donor of any responsibility for the child -- essentially, the agreement they entered into would have been honored. Because they did not, the biological father is on the hook. According to a DCF representative, state law requires that the department "establish paternity and then pursue child support from the non-custodial parent."

The problem presented itself when one of the girl's mothers experienced health setbacks that have prevented her from working. She had been supporting the child since the couple broke up in 2010. When her former partner applied for public assistance, the question of paternity came up, and DCF got involved.

Source: New York Post, "State trying to make sperm donor pay child support," Jan. 2, 2013

We help families with child support issues like the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our Libertyville, Illinois, practice, please visit our website.

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