Family Law Blog

Court Rules Kansas Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Kansas court has ruled that a man who donated his sperm to a lesbian couple qualifies as the father of the baby, even though he signed off his paternal rights to the child. The court has ruled that he must make child support payments.

The case seemed uncomplicated enough until the baby was born. However, after the baby was born, the lesbian couple broke up, and one of them suffered an injury that resulted in her losing her job. She now does not work, and is reliant on public assistance. The woman was asked to name the father of the child in her application for assistance, and it was at that point, that the sperm donor’s name came up. The Kansas Department of Children and Families decided to take the donor to court, claiming more than $6,000 in past child support and expenses as well as future child support payments.

The court has ruled in favor of the state agency. The decision seems to have been based on a legal technicality. When the man answered the Craigslist ad for a sperm donor, he signed off paternal rights to the child, as part of the agreement with the lesbian couple. However, the artificial insemination was conducted without the presence of a registered artificial insemination expert or doctor. Under Kansas law, child support requirements are subjected to all fathers, except those who donate their sperm in an artificial insemination procedure that involves the presence of a doctor. Since this case involved artificial insemination in the absence of a doctor, the court ruled that the man did qualify as a father, and could not avoid his child support obligations.

What has made this case even more complicated is that the state of Kansas does not recognize gay marriage, and therefore, the woman who wanted to apply for state welfare, was not able to seek child support payments from her partner when they broke up. She was instead forced to look to the donor for payments instead.