The Kansas Department of Children and Families has demanded the sum of $6 000 in child support from an American man who donated his sperm.
William Marotta answered an advertisement in 2009 to be a sperm donor for a lesbian couple wishing to have a child. Marotta provided his sperm free of charge to the couple after signing a contract that stated he would have no parental care for any child born as a result of his donation.
Eventually the lesbian parents separated and the mother with the full time care of the child applied for government funded benefits. Marotta has tried to rely upon the signed contract as the reason he shouldn’t be liable for child support, but the Government says the document wasn’t valid because a licensed physician did not perform the insemination process. Kansas law states that if a doctor handles the artificial insemination a sperm donor is not the father of the child, however, the law doesn’t cover a situation where no doctor is involved. The lawyer representing Marotta says the law is outdated and the Kansas state Government is only pursuing the case to make a point of their stance against same-sex parenting. Kansas banned same-sex marriage in 2005.
Social commentators on the case say the couple and Mr Marotta put themselves in this predicament by participating in a do-it-yourself insemination instead of following legally recognised channels.
In an interesting twist, the lesbian parents back Marotta in his fight against paying them any child support. The matter is due to go to hearing in April 2013.
Under the Qld Surrogacy Act 2010, up until such time as formal parentage is transferred from the birth parents (surrogate) to the intended parents (the recipients of the child), the birth parents are considered the child’s legal parents and therefore would be liable for child support. At the time of birth, the birth parents are named as the legal parents, not the intended parents. At the time that a transfer of parentage occurs, the intended parents will not only be named on the birth certificate, but become liable for child support should the parents separate. Therefore, the situation described in the US should not occur here – if a woman was acting as a surrogate for another woman, she and her spouse would be advised before entering into any formal surrogacy arrangement that should, for whatever reason, the child not go to the intended parents, they would be responsible not only for the child and all associated costs, but would be liable for child support. This is the case regardless of how the conception occurred.
It is important to seek appropriate legal advice if intending to enter into any sort of surrogacy arrangement or donation of sperm for IVF purposes.