Eisenberg, Middleditch & Spilman, PLLC

Sperm donor not responsible for child support

Reproductive options in Michigan and across the country are changing rapidly as the make-up of nuclear families evolves. While the laws race to keep up with the changing landscape, judges are sometimes left to make decisions where little precedent exists. At least one man is happy for the recent child support ruling a family law judge made in his favor. However, the decision may not stand if the state's advocate for families decides to appeal.

The man in another state responded to an ad on Craigslist asking for a sperm donor for two women who wanted to have a baby together. Instead of going through a doctor, one of the women was impregnated using a syringe at the home of the women. The man had no intention of being involved in the child's life, and the three adults signed a contract agreeing to a determined amount of compensation for the man.

Soon the women ended their relationship. When the biological mother of the child requested financial assistance from the state, the state's Department for Children and Families petitioned to hold the man responsible for child support. The agency argued that because the sperm donation was done at home and not under a doctor's supervision, the man should be held liable for child support and perhaps even the $6,000 worth of medical expenses from the child's birth.

The judge found otherwise, ruling that the woman's former partner -- not the sperm donor -- should be sought for child support since she was considered the second parent of the child. A spokesperson for the agency expressed disappointment that the judge seemingly ignored the law. Nevertheless, many states may not offer protection for sperm donors who do not use a physician. People in Michigan considering assisted reproduction can get advice and guidance from an attorney who is well-versed in family law.

Source: CBS Philly, "Judge Rules Sperm Donor Not On Hook For Child Support", John Hanna, Nov. 29, 2016

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