The state of Texas has legal language that addresses whether men who donate sperm for the birth of a child can have parental rights or whether the donor will have to pay child support. In fact, since 2002, Texas and eight other states have included the following statement or one like it in their laws: “a donor is not a parent of a child conceived by means of assisted reproduction.”
But not every state has addressed the question of paternity in the same way. In fact, when the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws recommended language to the effect of not giving sperm donors parenting rights and not requiring them to fulfill parental responsibilities, the state of Kansas did not follow the recommendation.
Now a case in that state is making headlines because Kansas officials are trying to make a man who donated sperm pay back child support and ongoing child support. The state is doing this even though the mother of the 3-year-old in question has not asked the donor to make any such payments.
The story breaks down like this: the man answered an ad placed by two female partners who were looking for a sperm donor. The three adults got together, signed an agreement saying the man would have no parental responsibilities, and took care of the artificial insemination themselves. A child resulted from the process.
But since no doctors or attorneys were present for the signing of the agreement, under Kansas law, the man can still be held accountable for child support. The state became aware of the situation when the biological mother of the child became unemployed and sought financial assistance from the state.
Apparently to reduce the burden on taxpayers, officials are seeking to make the sperm donor pay child support to the mother.
This case is up for debate in Kansas, but Texas also has laws that are difficult to navigate for non-traditional families. Often, the best thing for these families to do is to consult with a family law attorney who can offer possible solutions for a specific situation.
Source: The Washington Times, “Who’s your daddy? Sperm donors, paternity, child support and the law,” Myra Fleischer, Jan. 17, 2013