People in North Carolina may have seen recent headlines about a man who recently found out he may unwittingly be responsible for the care and support of a child he created through a sperm donation. The Kansas man donated his sperm to a same-sex couple looking to conceive over three years ago.
There are many types of surrogacy arrangements, and many potential pitfalls in each of them. The only way to protect one's self in these relatively new types of donor-parent agreements is to have experienced legal counsel at every step of the process.
In this case, the same-sex couple sought sperm donors via Craigslist, and the man entered into an informal agreement with the couple stating that he would relinquish his parental rights. However, one of the women in the agreement has since lost her job and sought assistance from the state. The state is now attempting to make the biological father pay back support amounts and a monthly amount moving forward, even though he has no connection to the child conceived other than his genetic material. Because the state law only acknowledges inseminations done by a licensed physician, the self-insemination process the couple and the man utilized hstill leaves him liable for the child's care and support.
Unfortunately, many states' laws are ill-equipped to deal with these novel situations, and to make things worse, states like North Carolina don't acknowledge same-sex unions, which can lead to unintended and ruinous consequences.
Whether the objective is to ensure that a donor fully relinquishes parental rights or to relieve one of the burden of future support, an arrangement of this much importance always requires the expertise of a family law attorney. The money spent getting it right will be nothing compared to the amount it could cost to rectify the situation.
Source: Washington Times "Who's your daddy? Sperm donors, paternity, child support and the law," Myra Fleischer, Jan. 17, 2013