The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

January 2, 2013

State trying to make sperm donor pay child support

(Continued)

A hearing is set for Tuesday.

Marotta told The Topeka-Capital Journal that he is "a little scared about where this is going to go, primarily for financial reasons." His attorney didn't immediately return a phone message Wednesday from The Associated Press.

Court records show that Marotta, Schreiner and Bauer signed an agreement in March 2009, with the women agreeing to "hold him harmless" financially. The agreement also said the child's birth certificate would not list a father.

But the state contends the agreement isn't valid because a doctor wasn't involved.

Under a 1994 Kansas law, a sperm donor isn't considered the father only when a donor provides sperm to a licensed physician for artificial insemination of a woman who isn't the donor's wife. The result is an incentive for donors and prospective mothers to work with a doctor, de Rocha said.

"I believe that is the intent of the law, so that we don't end up with these ambiguous situations," she told The Associated Press.

Also, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October 2007 that a sperm donor who works through a licensed physician can't legally be considered a child's father — and doesn't have the right to visit the child or have a role in its upbringing — absent a formal, written agreement. But the case involved a sperm donor who was seeking access to a child but had only an informal, unwritten agreement with the child's mother.

Linda Elrod, a law professor and director of Washburn University's Children and Family Law program, said the law seems clear: Sperm donors who don't want to be held liable for child support need to work with a doctor.

"Other than that, the general rule is strict liability for sperm," said Elrod, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court case.

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