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Sperm donor seeks custody of his biological son

23 July 2007

By Danielle Hamm

Appeared in BioNews 417

sperm donor from the Republic of Ireland is fighting for joint custody of his biological son, following the break-down of his relationship with the lesbian couple he donated his sperm to. On 19 July he won a Supreme Court battle, preventing the couple from taking the child to Australia for a year, pending the custody hearing. The case is unprecedented in the Republic of Ireland, where neither the parental rights of sperm donors nor lesbian couples are defined in law.

When the sperm was donated in 2006, the parties (who cannot be named due to Irish law which grants anonymity to family law litigants) made a contractual agreement allowing visiting rights to the biological father. The child also carries his father's name. The relationship between the couple and donor reportedly broke down shortly after the birth of the child, who is now 14 months old.

The couple, one of whom is Irish and the other Australian, had a civil partnership ceremony in England before the birth of the child. They now wish to take him to Australia for a year so he can get to know his extended family. The injunction prevents them from leaving the country for more than six weeks at a time, until the custody case is resolved.

The decision was reportedly made on the basis of the best interests of the child, who was deemed to benefit from close contact with his biological father. The decision was not unanimous and the dissenting Judge, Justice Fennelly, argued that there was no evidence that the boy's interests would be harmed through leaving the country.

Sperm donor wins court fight against lesbians
The Times | 20 July 2007
Sperm donor wins court fight to keep lesbian couple's infant in Ireland
Associated Press | 19 July 2007


13 February 2012 - by Dr Linda Wijlaars 
The Court of Appeal in the UK is hearing a case in which a gay man is fighting for greater parental access to his two-year old son he fathered with his lesbian ex-wife...

29 August 2006 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
The UK Government has announced that the sale of fresh sperm over the Internet is to be banned, following fears over the safety and suitability of the sperm, as raised in a consultation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE)Act 1990. Internet sites are currently charging...
17 July 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
UK Health Minister Caroline Flint has told an evidence session of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (STC) that there is 'probably not a case' for maintaining the part of the law that says that clinics must take into account the potential child's 'need...
08 May 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
A investigation undertaken by the Scotland on Sunday newspaper has found that some fertility clinics in the country are treating lesbians and single women on the National Health Service. The investigation shows that three Scottish health boards pay for donor insemination and sometimes IVF for lesbian...

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