Unsolicited Parenthood: Craigslist Babies

Article: Man who responded to Craigslist ad for a sperm donor is a dad, must pay child support, judge rules.

Let me preface this article by stating that it will always be a bad idea to respond to a Craigslist ad requesting a sperm donor. Doing so will only lead to trouble… I promise!

In this case, the parties’ intent was for the sperm donor to completely relinquish any and all parental rights to a child born utilizing his semen. However, a Kansas court did not view that situation the same way. Kansas law (K.S.A. 23-2208(f)) provides a man with a statutory vehicle for donating sperm that precludes later liability for any resulting child. The facts of this case do not conform to the specific Kansas statute. As a result, the man who merely wanted to donate his sperm so a same-sex couple could have a child, ended up becoming a father in the eyes of the state of Kansas. This man’s decision has financial and potential emotional repercussions that will last for many years to come.

This area of the law is complex. Downloading an agreement from the internet, as the parties’ did in this specific instance, will not cover all of your bases when it comes to surrogacy, egg donation or sperm donation since the laws, or lack thereof, vary significantly across the country. The state of Ohio has some case law regarding this area of the law but does not have specific statutes. As a result, each county within the state has their own approach and process to follow. The lack of state law only leads to uncertainty which in turn leads to legal issues.

Trying to have child through assisted reproductive technology is an expensive process and some choose to go through the process without seeking legal advice in order to save money. This article is a great example of why seeking out legal advice initially is very important and how paying some money up front can prevent significant expenses in the future.

Source: ABA Journal – Martha Neil – January 22, 2014

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