Do Sperm Donors Have Legal Right For Paternity?
Sperm donation is a hot button topic that has not garnered enough attention in the media. The importance for men who want to donate sperm to know their legal rights as it pertains to the state in which they live is more important than ever.
Failure to know the law in your state may cost you financially. So, the question is, does a sperm donor have legal rights? The answer depends on how the sperm donation was handled. For example, if the donation was mediated by a state licensed practitioner and all of the correct paperwork was filled out. The sperm donor in most instances will be relieved of all rights (visitation, child support etc). In states like NJ getting a family law attorney is recommended due to recent cases where donors wanted visitation rights. Regardless of the state, getting an attorney involved that is well-versed in your state’s laws is necessary.
If a licensed doctor is not used, will I be liable for child support?
In some states, yes. Informally donating sperm to a couple or a single woman will not protect you from;
- paying child support
- The woman or couple from your paternity.
- It will not protect the couple from your right for visitation.
What should be noted, the donor can not be the mother’s husband. If he is, a court may automatically be deemed you the legal father, even if
the insemination occurred during a divorce. Or, if have a contract in place relinquishing your rights.
As stated earlier. getting a licensed practitioner involved in this process can go a long way.
What exceptions are there, if any?
Well, the importance of keeping up with sperm donation laws in your state are VERY important because laws can change at a drop of a dime. For example, A court in Pennslyvania recently ruled that a sperm donor was liable for pay child support.
The court ruled against him even though the evidence was submitted showing the mother of the child was married at the time and there was a written contract in place relinquishing him of all his rights.
Would it better if I went to a sperm bank instead of dealing directly with a woman or a couple?
Using a sperm bank and donating anonymously may be the best option for donors because the contract is between the Sperm Donation Clinic and the Donor. So currently, I am not aware of an instance where a man who donated sperm by way of the clinic will be liable.
Although, in some countries in Europe, the law states that a child can reach out to the anonymous donor once they reach 18 years of age. So, it is important to keep in your state’s perspective on this issue of sperm donation.
Below are some State Laws Concerning a Known Sperm Donor’s Rights
California: If you use a licensed medical professional, then the sperm donor automatically loses all claims to the child. Also, if the mother is married, then the husband automatically becomes the legal father.
Oregon: The statute is the same as California’s.
Florida: If state law rules you are a “donor,” then all your rights/obligations to the child are relinquished. This is the case, even if the insemination is NOT done through a licensed medical professional. The courts will also look to any written contracts in determining the parties’ intent on the role of the donor.
Pennsylvania: “Artificial insemination” must be performed at a licensed insemination facility. Donors will be considered the father of a child if insemination happened outside of a licensed facility.
New York: Generally, contracts about sperm donation between a couple and a donor are unenforceable. The court will only look at the best interests of the child in determining the rights and duties of the donor.
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