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Sperm donor finds himself the target of child support petition

It is not unheard of for childless couples in North Carolina to turn to a sperm donor in order to produce the child they have so long desired. Men who donate their sperm generally do so with the understanding that they cannot be held legally responsible for that child's welfare. In short, they do not claim any parental rights. Those rights are held by the couple who uses the sperm to have a child. However, a recent case could open the door for donors to be sued for child support.

A lesbian couple paid a sperm donor so that they could become parents. The couple, however, had financial issues and released the sperm donor's name when they sought assistance from their state. In turn, the state filed a petition to have the donor's name listed as the child's legal father, and therefore make him responsible for the care of the child.

The state says that because the donor gave his sperm to the couple directly, he is financially responsible for the child. This would require the donor to pay for the medical expenses incurred by the child's birth. The donor and the couple had a written agreement, releasing him from any obligations or claim to the child.

If the state wins the petition, the donor could be ordered to pay child support payments for the care of the child. He could also find himself having to provide health care coverage and other forms of care for a child he has no relationship with. Furthermore, future potential donors might be unwilling to help childless couples for fear of being held legally responsible for the child that they technically fathered.

Source: Yahoo News, "Child support claim rankles sperm donor to lesbian couple," Kevin Murphy, Jan. 2, 2013

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