National Post reports on a “precedent-setting court ruling” in Canada. For the first time in Canada a court has ruled on the legitimacy of a donor contract in determining the competing parental rights of a lesbian couple and a gay man who was the sperm donor.
NP writes that the court ruling could open the door for a child to have three or four recognized parents in “known donor” situations.
At the same time, it may also have a chilling effect on lesbian couples seeking a specific donor and who want their child to know the identity of the father.
The legal dispute involves a lesbian couple in Toronto and a gay man who agreed to be their sperm donor and play an active role as a parent. (The parties cannot be identified because there is a ban on any information that could identify the child.)
The couple and the man signed a ‘donor contract’ before the child was born in 2002, which set out his rights as a ‘co-parent’ including regular access as well as full custody if both women were to die. The agreement included a promise to try for a ‘three-way’ adoption, which would have required a court challenge under the Charter of Rights, although this was never followed through.
The two women and the man are all highly educated professionals and the couple wanted the child to know her father and intentionally sought out a gay man as the donor.
‘Given their options to have children, what we were offering might be interesting to [gay men], might be attractive to them, I mean their options are in some ways much bleaker than ours,’ one of the women told the court.
The friendship has deteriorated and the two women have tried to reduce the father’s access to the child.”