Man Who Donated Sperm To Lesbian Couple For A Child Not Obligated To Provide Financial Support In Court Ruling

A judge has ruled that a man who donated his sperm to a same-sex couple is not obligated to provide financial support, the Topeka Capital Journal is reporting.

William Marotta had responded to a Craiglist ad and donated his sperm to two women. The girl was born in 2009 and the Kansas Department for Families and Children has been on Marotta’s case to make him the child’s father so that he can pay child support. Under Kansas law, a man who donates his sperm to a doctor for artificial insemination cannot be deemed a father to the child. However, the women who have since separated did not use a physician during the procedure.

The case has been in court since 2012 with Marotta through his attorney, Charles Baylor contending that he is not the child’s father. The Kansas judge, Mary Mattivi ruled that the woman who did not give birth was the girl’s second parent and both women were required to support the child. It was a decision that Baylor celebrated as justice well deserved.

“It’s a great victory for Mr. Marotta. We’re gratified by the decision.”

In 2009, Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer posted a $50 Craigslist ad looking for a sperm donor. William Marotta was picked and told to sign a contract ceding his parental rights. Bauer and Schreiner broke up in December 2010 and when Bauer stopped working because of illness, the state department got involved. In 2012, the state asked for Marotta to cough up an initial sum of $6,100 in expenses and then follow it up with thousands of dollars in child support.

Kansas does not recognize same-sex marriages and so Ms. Bauer had no legal right to adopt the child, despite continuing to take care of her when she separated from Schreiner. However, when Bauer had to stop work and live off disability benefits, the Kansas Department for Children and Families was contacted for assistance. The KDCF asked for the name of the sperm donor which was provided.

The women decided to inseminate Schreiner at home with a syringe and agreed to pay Marotta $150 for three cups of his sperm. The donor said he was intrigued by the ad and wanted to help the women. According to him, he gave them three cups of sperm for free. According to him, he was not there when the insemination took place and had no idea that there was no doctor present.

The women said they agreed to do it themselves after an awkward encounter with a previous doctor. The judge had criticized the women for their ignorance and their refusal to use a medical clinic or lawyer during the procedure. She said a medical doctor would have screened the semen for genetic deficiencies and sexually transmitted diseases.

CNN senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen said that under Kansas law, the sperm donor was the father of the child. She said the absence of documentation did not prove he was a sperm donor, adding that he could as well being a lover.

“For all they know, they were lovers. They need documentation. He’s the dad; he ought to be paying up.”

In 2015, the judge had asked for Marotta to submit his DNA to confirm he was the child’s biological father and ruled that he was not “a mere sperm donor.” On November 22, Mattivi concluded that the biological mother’s former partner be considered as the second parent.

The judge said Marotta could not be considered the legal father because Bauer still played an active role in the girl’s life. She said that the sperm donor had only seen the girl, twice in five years and had no intention to provide financial or emotional support.

“A negative result regarding Marotta might leave the child without a financially solvent parent, but it would not leave the child without a legal parent…Marotta also does not have children of his own that could be considered siblings.”

[Featured Image by Kuzma/iStockPhoto]