The use of donor sperm and donor eggs has allowed scores of couples in Texas and nationally that otherwise would have been unable to conceive to have children. While this has opened wonderful doors for many couples, it has also raised complex family law issues surrounding child custody, child support and parental obligations.
In Texas, there was recently a dispute with a woman that agreed to be a surrogate to a same-sex couple under the agreement that the three co-parent. When the father that provided the sperm tried to strip the woman of her parental rights, she went to court and was successful in showing that was not the agreed circumstances.
In other instances individuals will try to pursue child support payments from donors. In a recent out-of-state case, a couple agreed to use a sperm donor to have children when they were married. The wife conceived two children through fertilization with sperm from a donor. Both children were born when the couple was married, the wife’s husband was recognized as the father of the children and it is reported that the father raised the children until the marriage fell apart.
When the couple decided to divorce, the father attempted to allege that they children were not biologically his and not his legal responsibility because he never agreed to the use of a sperm donor. A family law judge did not agree with this father’s story, maintained that he still had parental obligations and thereby is responsible for weekly child support payments of $119.
While evolving technology in regards to fertility can do wonderful things, it also raises complex issues that often call on individuals to retain the experience of a fierce family law attorney to find resolution.
Source: USA Today, “Court: Ind. Man must support kids by sperm donor,” Douglas Walker, Jan. 16, 2013