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Sperm donor may be liable for child support payments

Laws governing the rights of sperm donors are put in place to determine who is legally responsible for the children or who has access to them. Managing donor relationships through unwritten agreements or without the assistance of a medical facility can result in complicated liability issues, making it difficult for authorities to decide if the donor father should be held accountable for child support payments.

Our readers in Florida can learn from the experience of one man who donated sperm to two same-sex partners. The man reportedly entered a formal written agreement with the biological mother and her partner after answering an online request for a sperm donor. The sperm was delivered directly to the recipient couple in a container by the donor.

According to reports, the recipient couple also performed the insemination privately, without medical assistance. Complications arose when the recipient couple terminated their relationship. Subsequently, the custodial parent applied for public assistance to adequately care for the child. Due to strict state policies, the government has the authority to pursue the biological father for reimbursement to offset the cost of any public aid received by the custodial parent.

By law, the donor father would be required to submit monthly payments, as well as up to $6,000 in back payments for child support that has already been issued. The case occurred in Kansas, where sperm donors are legally freed from liability only when the process is supervised by licensed physicians and medical facilities. In many states, the laws that apply to sperm donors for unmarried women are not completely explicit in cases where an official written agreement was made between the participating parties.

To ensure that the rights of sperm donors, custodial parents and children are respected, individuals considering artificial insemination should seek, and will benefit from, accurate guidance. Sperm donors who believe they were wrongfully held liable for child support and custodial parents who are owed compensation from a biological parent can find out more about their personal rights by educating themselves about state child support laws.

Source: USA TODAY, "Kansas wants sperm donor to pay child support," John Hanna, Jan. 2, 2013

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