By Dawn Cranfield
William Marotta never thought he would be sued for child support when he answered a Craig’s List ad to donate his sperm to a lesbian couple who wanted a child. However, the state of Kansas is now looking to recover more than $6000 in benefits that were paid to support the child when one of the women obtained public assistance.
Marotta answered an ad in 2009 to help Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer; Schreiner was seeking assistance in becoming pregnant. The three signed an agreement that Marotta had no parental rights or responsibilities. (dailynews.com)
According to Marotta, he gave his contribution and was finished with the transaction.
The two would-be moms then used an at-home artificial insemination kit to
perform the rest of the procedure and Schreiner became pregnant.
“Kansas law says a sperm donor is not the father of a child if a doctor handles the artificial insemination. The donor of semen provided to a licensed physician for use in artificial insemination of a woman other than the donor’s wife is treated in law as if he were not the birth father of a child thereby conceived, unless agreed to in writing by the donor and the woman,” according to the Kansas Parentage Act of 1994.” (nydailynews.com)
Ben Swinnen, Marotta’s lawyer, believes the Kansas law’s governing artificial insemination are archaic and do not address modern family concepts. Swinnen also believes since the parties had a written agreement his client should not be held responsible for the child support payments.
“‘The state of Kansas is lagging behind in following the trend,’ he said. ‘It is a freeze, in my opinion, on artificial insemination and alternative family settings.’ Swinnen also said that in pursuing the case against Marotta, the state is reinforcing the traditional view of a family as a married man and woman with children.” (dailynews.com)
For those of you who enjoy supporting others on government assistance, thank people like Swinnen. His opinion that the state is trying to reinforce a traditional family as a married man and married woman has nothing to do with this case other than to sensationalize it and bring it to the attention of the media.
Imagine, if you will, how many crafty abusers of the system might see the case and decide to draft an agreement stating they used a sperm donor and an at home artificial insemination kit. At that point, they would simply have to go to their local social services office and apply for benefits claiming indigence while you, Joe Taxpayer, paid for their diapers, formula, housing, and so on.
The necessitation for a physician’s involvement is a chain of evidence so this scenario does not rear its’ ugly head. My understanding was the agreement they signed contained a clause that a doctor would be involved in the procedure; however, Marotta stated he gave his donation and did not know what became of his sample afterwards.
Unfortunately for Marotta, no good deed goes unpunished, as they say.
While researching this story, I was somewhat surprised by the term “at home artificial insemination kit” and had to look it up to determine whether or not such a thing truly existed; it does. I was also thrilled to learn if I was in the market that I could find entire forums dedicated to sperm donors willing to give their samples for free. I was reluctant to search any further for fear of what I might find while trolling the rooms.
I suppose this is our future; but, buyer-beware. With free sperm samples, I imagine you get what you pay for.
Once again, Craig’s List is at the center of another controversy… is there anything good on there? An antique end table perhaps?
(It should be noted that the two women have since split; it is reported they have not been a couple since 2010, but continue to co-parent the child.)