Judge Rules Sperm Donor Is Legal Father Of Child Born To Lesbian Couple

In Topeka, Kansas a judge has deemed that a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple is the legal father of the child produced because a licensed doctor was not involved in the insemination. Now the man, William Marotta, must pay child support. Marotta responded to a Craigslist add posted by Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer in 2009. For $50 Marotta agreed to provide sperm to the lesbian couple. Without seeking legal advice, Marotta and the couple signed a document stating that Marotta was not to be responsible for the child.

Schreiner and Bauer separated within a year after the birth of their daughter. Schreiner sought financial aid from the state to help her support the child and listed “donor” as the child’s father. Determining that Marotta was not an anonymous donor, the Kansas Department for Children and Families demanded he pay child support.

Schreiner and Bauer purport themselves to be the child’s parents, but the judge disagreed. Because proper protocol was not followed in the insemination, the judge said Marotta cannot be considered just a donor. Specifically, they did not follow state law which requires the use of a physician for artificial insemination and the signing of certain documents. The judge stated, “The court is bound by the ordinary meaning and plain language of (state law) and it may not look the other way simply because the parties intended a different result than that afforded by the statute.”

It is unknown whether Marotta will appeal the ruling.

Lisa Steffek

About Lisa Steffek

Lisa Steffek is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. Lisa completed her Bachelors, Masters and Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Texas in Human Development and Family Sciences. As an undergraduate, Lisa worked as a research assistant studying child attachment. Lisa also worked for several years at The Settlement Home, a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed adolescent females. Most of the girls at The Settlement Home had been removed from their homes by Child Protective Services, and Lisa worked with the girls to teach them life-skills and provided psychological treatment to prepare them for adulthood and the transition to foster homes. Lisa also worked for six years in various academic capacities at the University of Texas, including an undergraduate teaching assistant, graduate research assistant, and undergraduate writing consultant. Lisa has presented papers regarding human development at various academic conferences in the states and abroad, and has had her writing published in an international, academic journal.

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