A sperm donor who answered a Craigslist’s add from a lesbian couple has been ordered to pay child support by a Kansas judge. William Marotta had no intention of becoming a father and believed that he had waived his parental rights. The judge told Marotta, “Not so, you are the father.”
Judge Mary Mattivi, from Shawnee County District Court, dismissed Marotta’s claim because the parties involved failed to involve a licensed physician in the process of artificial insemination. In the state of Kansas the absence of a licensed physician disqualifies anyone from being simply a sperm donor.
Judge Mattivi said this is a statutory requirement of the Kansas Parentage Act. Marotta cannot just designate himself as a sperm donor, this is insufficient to relieve him of parental responsibilities and rights to the child.
The state is holding Marotta responsible for nearly $6,000 in back child support for public assistance the state provided the child’s mother, in addition to future child support. The case was filed in October 2012 by The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) in hopes of having Marotta declared the father of Jennifer Schreiner’s daughter.
Marotta said he signed a contract waiving him of parental connections and opposed the action of the state. He had only contacted Angela Bauer, Schreiner’s partner, because of the ad the couple placed in search of a sperm donor. He thought he was helping the same-sex couple enhance their family, not becoming a father to a child.
Schreiner wrote on documents included with the court filing that Marotta “donated sperm 3 times.” The pair never had actual intercourse; instead the mother said she used a syringe to inseminate.
Marotta’s attorney, Benoit Swinnen, said although he was not totally surprised he was still disappointed by the ruling. Swinnen said he would “absolutely” appeal the case if that is what Marotta wants to do. Swinnen said they stand by the signed contract and the insinuation by the state is offensive. He said there was no personal relationship between the child, her mother or her mother’s partner and his client. Anything the state suggests otherwise is vilifying his client and he intends to address it vigorously.
In the wake of today’s number of women who choose to have babies without a personal connection to a man there is a growing concern among medical experts, donors and parents about the possibility of negative consequences resulting. There is a greater potential for many children to be fathered by the same donor as well as a greater risk that rare diseases could spread due to the donor’s genes.
Many are now even concerned about the increased odds of incest occurring between half brothers and sisters who may reside in the same locality.
Critics say that sperm banks and fertility clinics are allowing too many children to be conceived with sperm from donors who are popular. They believe families should receive more information on the donor’s health and other children conceived through their sperm donation.
Wendy Kramer, founder of the Donor Sibling Registry, says no one knows how many children are born each year in America using sperm donors. It has been estimated that at least 30,000 to 60,000 children are the product of a sperm donor. Even though mothers of the children are asked to report the birth of their child, only about 20 to 40 percent actually do so.
In light of Judge Mattivi’s recent ruling against Marotta it is important that donors know the law before opting to become a donor through an online platform. Marotta signed a contract relieving him of the responsibilities and rights associated with parenthood which ended up null and void.
DCF argued the contract between 46-year-old Marotta and the lesbian couple overlooked the well-established law in the state of Kansas. Judge Mary Mattivi agreed with the state and has ordered William Marotta to pay child support for his daughter who was born in 2009.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)