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Sperm donor potentially forced to pay child support

Michigan couples need to take note of a news story that is sweeping headlines. The story comes from the Midwest and is another example of the importance of involving attorneys and other professionals when it comes to complex parenting and family law issues.

A Kansas man responded to a Craigslist ad back in 2009 and agreed to donate sperm to allow a lesbian couple to have a child. This good deed seems to not go unpunished as the man may now be forced to pay child support for the child.

After answering the ad, the couple and the donor signed an agreement where he waived any parental rights. This waiver also exempted him from any parental responsibilities, including financial support.

Unfortunately, the parties did not follow all the legal requirements for completing the artificial insemination. Instead of working with a doctor or medical facility, they used a syringe to conceive. This failure to use a doctor is now the main reason why the male donor may be on the hook for child support.

There is a Kansas law on the books that sperm donors are not responsible as parents but only if the medical physician assists with the insemination procedure. Officials say the purpose of this law is to ensure that the donor is not connected with the mother in a way that would induce child support. Without the law and oversight, it is argued, that boyfriends could later pose as mere sperm donors and child support enforcement would be futile.

The parents of the child eventually broke up and that is when the mother applied for state aid. This application triggered a search into the father's history and the state would like to list him as the father and order support payments.

Child support is a child's right and parents should not be able to skirt this responsibility. But support payments are a major undertaking and parents, or hopeful parents, entering into similar types of agreements should certainly consider the counsel of a lawyer to ensure that there are no surprises in the future. A well thought out plan and agreement will be in the best interests of the child in the long run.

Source: NPR, "Kansas Presses Sperm Donor To Pay Child Support," Bill Chappell, Jan. 3, 2013

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