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Craigslist sperm donor shouldn't have to pay child support

January 4, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Just when should a sperm donor be required to pay child support?

The state of Kansas is requiring a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple to pay child support, even though he signed a contract giving up his parental rights. The contract also said he would have no financial responsibility for the child.

According to a story in The Daily Mail, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner placed this ad on Craigslist: "We are foster and adoptive parents and now we desire to share a pregnancy and birth together." William Marotta, who is married and works as a mechanic, answered the ad and donated his sperm, after the three had signed the contract. Schreiner was inseminated and gave birth to a girl.

Since Kansas doesn't recognize same sex marriage, Schreiner was the only parent listed on the little girl's birth certificate. Last year, Bauer became ill and was no longer able to support the family and Schreiner applied for welfare benefits for her children. At that point the state of Kansas demanded the identity of the sperm donor as a condition for the child receiving welfare benefits. In October, the Department of Children and Families obtained a ruling that Marotta is the child's father and is responsible for paying child support. The agreement signed by Marotta, Bauer and Schreiner is considered invalid because they didn't use a doctor to do the insemination. If the women had used a doctor and a sperm bank, the sperm donor would not be responsible for child support. The lesbian couple say that Marotta should not be held responsible for child support, as does Marotta.

It's obvious to me that family law badly needs to be updated in all 50 states to prevent this situation from happening again. There are thousands of children in the United States who have been conceived with the aid of donated sperm. Many of them are so-called "turkey baster" babies, like this little girl, conceived through artificial insemination at home instead of in clinics. In this particular case the child has one legal parent, because Kansas doesn't recognize same sex marriage, but in actuality she has two parents raising her.

Not all of these cases involve lesbian couples, either. Sperm donors are used by heterosexual couples as well in cases where the husband is infertile. In a case like that, the state would likely recognize the father as the man who was married to her mother at the time she was born. Other cases involve children born to single mothers by choice, who intend to raise the child alone. In most of these cases contracts have been signed that protect the rights of both sperm donor not to pay child support and the rights of the parent or parents who will actually raise the child not to have to give visitation or decision making power to the sperm donor.

Bauer and Schreiner likely used a donor they knew because they wanted the child to have information about who she looks like, her family medical history and the opportunity to know her biological father when she is older. The three were on amicable terms and Marotta gets updates about how the little girl is doing. The ruling by the Kansas court is likely to have a chilling effect on arrangements like this one.

Given the state of the economy, some of those families may find that they need to apply for welfare benefits and sperm donors shouldn't be held financially responsible for the child. It shouldn't make any difference whether the child was conceived through artificial insemination in a doctor's office or at home with sperm from a donor found on Craigslist.


Article Comments



Jan-10-13 1:20 PM

Heisenberg, yep and I'm done playing.


Jan-10-13 12:48 PM

Bait and switch.


Jan-10-13 11:25 AM

So fringe movements have no credibility and do not grow into a movement, except when they do.


Jan-10-13 10:58 AM

I am well aware of the history of the gay rights movement. At the moment it is not a fringe movement even if it started out as one. There's zero possibility that any country in the western world would legalize child abuse and there is no connection between that and the original topic.


Jan-10-13 9:08 AM

Gay marriage is currently legal in nine states and the District of Columbia and states and legally recognized in three additional states. Recent polls suggest that about half the population, particularly younger people, favor gay marriage. Issues of gay marriage are going to be discussed by the Supreme Court this session. It's not a fringe concept. Gay marriage is also undertaken by adults.

None of that, however, has anything to do with the abuse of minors or a psychiatrist's recognition that people with an attraction to minors might be wired that way. None of those psychiatrists are advocating making it legal for those people to act on their urges; no country (except perhaps a few places in the Middle East, though even they are starting to change, would legalize that behavior.) The trend is very much in the opposite direction.


Jan-09-13 6:49 PM

So we don't have to worry about the fringe group pushing gay marriage. Good to know.


Jan-09-13 5:18 PM

Just because something is being pushed by fringe groups doesn't mean it has a snowball's chance of becoming legal, especially given the current climate.

And once again, this has nothing to do with the topic.


Jan-09-13 5:13 PM

Coming from the know all andrea. It is being pushed forth and has fromthe 70's. It is gaining ground just as 'nomality' of homosexuality or incest. Pedophiles will tell you they are not hurting children. they love them. They have civil liberties, too.


Jan-09-13 4:47 PM

I highly doubt that child abuse is ever going to be legalized, in Canada or anywhere else in the world. True pedophilia probably does have something to do with the way the brain is wired, however, based on everything I've read. Doctors focus on treatment that helps them resist acting on their urges. Acting on their impulses and harming children is the crime; merely having them isn't.

But that has nothing whatsoever to do with whether gay marriage should be legalized.


Jan-09-13 4:27 PM

You brought up civil liberties. And this came from the paper in UK, You may listen to Rush, I don't. I read.


Jan-09-13 3:43 PM

And what does any of that have to do with the original topic? Rush Limbaugh's rantings ought to be taken with an enormous grain of salt.


Jan-09-13 2:00 PM

and so it goes: "Paedophiles may be wired differently. This is radical stuff. But there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality." Yep, just wired differently. Normalize deviancy and here we are.


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