In the late 1980’s, a married doctor in Nassau County, New York donated his sperm to a friend and her female partner.
The man included his name on the child’s birth certificate, believing it would give the boy “an identity”. The donor orally agreed he would not have any rights or benefits in the child’s upbringing. However, he regularly sent money, gifts and cards which were signed “Dad” and “Daddy,” and enjoyed regular phone chats with the child.
The donor said he had contact with the child from his birth until 1993, when the mothers and son moved to Oregon.
From then the contact dropped considerably.
“He was assured that he would have no responsibility on his part and of course 18 years has elapsed where there hasn’t been responsibility,” said the man’s lawyer, Deborah Kelly of Potrush and Daab in Garden City.
Because of privacy concerns, all parties remain unnamed.
If payments are approved by a Nassau County Family Court Judge – the child support would be determined based on the mother’s earning capacity; the reported income of her partner, who is also a doctor; and the donor’s income.
Legislation differs from region to region regarding the financial responsibility of sperm donors. The Washington State Court of Appeals ruled in 2004 that a donor isn’t bound to pay child support, unless he and the mother have a signed contract.
But earlier this year, a Pennsylvania judge held a sperm donor liable for support because he had spent thousands of dollars on gifts for two children that he helped a lesbian couple conceive.
In a similar story, a U.K. man is faced with paying child support after he donated sperm to a lesbian couple. The couple broke-up after the birth of two children – and now one mom is asking for financial support from the donor. The local Child Support Agency began to dock his pay.
The U.K.’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is now warning sperm donors they are liable financially unless they donate through a licensed clinic. The HFEA said: “We would warn men providing genetic material that the only time they are not the father is when they donate through a licensed fertility clinic. This does not apply to unlicensed websites or home insemination.”
Sources: NY Post/Evening Standard