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Craigslist sperm donor not legally child's father

2 December 2016
Appeared in BioNews 880

A US judge has ruled that a man who donated sperm to a same-sex couple, after responding to an online advertisement on the website Craigslist, is not the child's legal father and will not be liable for child support.

The Kansas Department for Families and Children had sought child support from William Marotta, after the couple to whom he donated his sperm separated in 2012. Marotta argued that he had entered into a contract with the couple, waiving his legal parental responsibilities. But a judge ruled that, since the insemination was performed at home, he could not be considered to be a sperm donor under state law and was the child's presumptive father (see BioNews 739).

Hearing the case again over two years later, Judge Mary Mattivi of the Shawnee County District Court effectively overturned the earlier decision and ruled that the mother's partner, Angela Bauer, should instead be the child's second parent.

Acting for Marotta, lawyer Charles Baylor said the ruling was a 'great victory' for his client, adding that the claim for child support could have amounted to discrimination against same-sex couples: 'If the presumptive parent, in this case the non-biological mother, had been a man, they never would have gone after the sperm donor.'

A spokesman for the Department for Families and Children said it was disappointed with the ruling: 'The law pertaining to sperm donors is clear and was ignored in this ruling.' It is not yet clear if it intends to appeal the ruling.

If the court had ruled against Marotta he would have been liable to pay out over $1500 in child support. A friend of Marotta told the Topeka Capital-Journal that he now has more than four years worth of legal bills to pay. A fundraising page has been set up for his benefit.

11 March 2019 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
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18 December 2017 - by Georgia Everett 
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15 May 2017 - by Dr Mary Yarwood 
A judge in Knox County, Tennessee, has granted a divorced woman the same legal rights as a husband over a child conceived through donor insemination...
27 January 2014 - by Nishat Hyder 
A Kansas court has ruled that a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple in response to a Craigslist advertisement is the legal father of the resulting child. The decision means the man can be required to pay child support....
7 January 2013 - by Rosie Beauchamp 
A sperm donor in Kansas, USA, has been ordered to pay $6,000 in child support to a lesbian couple who he helped conceive a child with...
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