Is a sperm donor the parent of your child? Well, biologically-speaking, he is. But, is he a "parent" in the sense that he is financially obligated to help you out? Several court cases say yes, forcing sperm donors to pay child support.
Concerned sperm donors should note that these cases are probably considered outside the norm.
The child support-paying sperm donors usually have a closer than normal relationship with the children and the family.
One case out of Pennsylvania concerned a man who donated sperm to a friend. Carl Frampton was close to the woman he donated his sperm to, and, he didn't just donate sperm. He provided limited financial support and developed an interest in the children, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The court eventually ordered child support.
Similarly, in New Mexico, a man was ordered to pay $250 a month in child support. Kevin Zoernig donated his sperm to a lesbian couple. The insemination was conducted informally, and Zoernig acted as the donor.
Zoernig, however, also did not just act as the donor. The children stay with him every other weekend during the school year and half of the time during summers, according to Fox News.
These cases seem to show that courts can order sperm donors to pay child support. On the other hand, it also appears like courts are only doing so when the donor has a higher-level relationship with the family or the children.
Many states have adopted codes, like the Uniform Parentage Act, which seems to specifically say that donors are not parents. Yet, it seems that courts often focus on the relationship between the sperm donor dad and the children when figuring out if there's any legal responsibility.
For sperm donor parents, these new cases may seem troubling at first blush. As a sperm donor, child support is probably something that is not on one's radar. But it seems that if you cross the line from being an anonymous, uncaring donor into the realm of a known, caring parent, you may incur child support liability.
- When Is a Sperm Donor a Dad? (ABC)
- Child Support (FindLaw)
- Two Moms, Two Dads, and a Baby (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- What Is A Mother? The California "Egg Donor" Case Gets It Wrong (FindLaw's Writ)