What California Sperm Donors Should Know About Sperm Donation, Child Support
and the Kansas Sperm Donation Case
Are you thinking about sperm donation in California? If you have been following
the Kansas sperm donor case, there is an important legal development.
If you are not familiar with the case, let’s turn briefly to the
legal controversy surrounding a sperm donor in Kansas who is being sued
by the state to pay
child support. If you are an intended sperm donor, or if you are thinking about entering
into a sperm donor arrangement, you are going to want to read about the
issues in the Kansas case.
The Kansas Case
Associated Press reported a Kansas man, William Marotta, answered a Craigslist ad for a
sperm donor in 2009. A lesbian couple in Kansas had published the ad.
The sperm donor met with the lesbian couple, Jennifer Schreiner and Angela
Bauer, and all of the parties agreed, Mr. Marotta, would donate his sperm
to the women and he signed a legal document relinquishing his
Reportedly, Marotta turned down a $50 payment offered by the two women
for the sperm donation. The problem in the arrangement arose when the
lesbian couple used a syringe instead of a physician to accomplish insemination
of the donated sperm. A Kansas statute permitting sperm donation requires
a medical doctor to carry out the insemination procedure. When the lesbian
couple used a syringe instead of a medical facility, they failed to follow
the specific guidelines laid out in the statute that would relieve a sperm
donor from having parental responsibility under Kansas state law.
The state subsequently became involved when Schreiner applied for Medicaid
and gave the donor contract to the caseworker. The Kansas Department for
Children and Family Services is now seeking to have the sperm donor named
as father of the child so they can hold him liable for child support.
The Supreme Court Decision
Now that you understand a bit of the history concerning the child support
sperm donor issue in Kansas, we now turn to a recent Kansas Supreme Court
decision, which also remarkably addressed non-traditional families in
that state. The Kansas Supreme Court recently held, a non-biological lesbian
mother has the same parental rights as a biological mother of two children.
Huffington Post reported the first-of-a-kind Kansas Supreme Court ruling. In that case
of first impression, the high court in Kansas held that a lesbian mother
could not unilaterally limit her ex-partner’s visitations to their
two children by refusing to honor the terms of a co-parenting agreement
The Kansas Supreme Court case involved a lesbian couple, Kelly Goudschaal
and Marcia Frazier, who separated after becoming parents to two children.
Frazier filed an action to enforce a parenting agreement between the lesbian
couple after Goudschaal refused visitations. A Johnson County judge upheld
the parenting agreement between the two women, stating that joint custody
was in the children’s best interest.
Goudschaal appealed the trial court decision, arguing the parenting agreement
was not enforceable under state law because a court in Kansas did not
have judicial authority over issues of child custody, child visitations
and child support since there was no pending divorce or visitation request
by a grandparent or stepparent. The Kansas Supreme court disagreed, “Not
enforcing the parenting agreement would deny the children the opportunity
to have two parents as children in a traditional marriage would have.”
The Kansas case is important because it is a case of first impression for
Kansas. However, this case has allegedly opened the door to a woman in
Topeka, Kansas who is now seeking to intervene in the Kansas sperm donor
case. SFGate has reported that a woman is attempting to protect her own
right to co-parent a child central to the issues in the child support
case. What’s her authority? The recent Kansas Supreme Court decision,
upholding a lesbian woman’s right to enforce a co-parenting agreement
against her former partner.
It’s an interesting time in family law throughout the nation, as
there appears to be a gradual recognition of non-traditional families
in our legal system. As we await the United States Supreme Court decision
on Proposition 8 and DOMA, there are courts all across this nation that
are struggling to make law when medical technology has made so many remarkable
strides when it comes to building families and helping those who are struggling
with infertility. California does have a sperm donor statute, so cases
like the child support case involving a sperm donor currently playing
out in Kansas courts will be interesting to watch.
In another late breaking move, the
Capital-Journal reports that the court-appointed lawyer for the minor child is asking for a child
custody evaluation of the 3-year old child that is at the heart of this
case. However, in spite of all of the legal happenings in this case, whether
ignorance or mistake, it’s clear the failure to adhere to the legal
requirements of the Kansas sperm donation statute may result in creating
sperm donor liability for the payment of child support even though this
was not the original intention of the parties. An intended sperm donor
should never operate in a vacuum when it comes to legal arrangements in
family formation law. The intended donor and the intended parents should
always obtain guidance from a family law attorney with specific knowledge
in family formation law, and who can advise and provide guidance on issues
such as sperm donation and paternity law in California. In addition, no
party to a sperm donation arrangement should ever proceed without fully
understanding the nature of all of the rights and responsibilities involved
under California law. Finally, you should take the time to get the help
you need from a Los Angeles family law attorney who can help you negotiate
the terms of a sperm donation agreement in advance of any sperm donation
arrangement in California.
If you need help building a non-traditional family, or if you questions or concerns about sperm donation or California’s sperm
donation statute, please
call to speak to a Los Angeles family law attorney from Castellanos & Associates, APLC at (323) 655-2105. We look forward to