When I first heard of this case, I was very shocked. This is a case in which a Kansas lesbian couple who wanted to become parents located a sperm donor by placing an ad on Craig’s list. They got several inquiries and finally settled on William Marotta and orchestrated an In vitro fertilization process. Marotta says he was intrigued by the ad “donated genetic material [to the women],and that was it for me” he said. All was good, one of the women became impregnated, and gave birth to a baby girl in December of 2009.
Jennifer Schreiner & Angela Bauer
Fast forward a few years and the couple severed ties. Due to some medical problems, one of them was unable to work and when she applied to the state for aid, the state in turn contacted Marotta for child support payments. This case is bizarre on one hand, but on the other hand, it’s fairly clear within the confines of the state law in Kansas.
Marotta thought he had completely given up parental rights through the in vitro process. He and the couple even executed a contract. But a judge ruled otherwise. Evidently there is a clause in the statute that requires all sperm donations to be under the supervision of a licensed physician. They didn’t use one; they performed the fertilization at home. Furthermore, state law also provides that a parent may not choose to terminate parental rights via contractural arrangements between consenting parties without court action. They didn’t involve the courts. They executed the agreement on their own.
The biggest problem seems to exist when there is a known donor. I’d recommend going to a donation clinic and using an anonymous donor. Cases in which the donor is known is when legal problems typically arise. But there actually is a lack of uniformity in such cases. It varies greatly from one state to the next. Your best bet is to fork out the dough and hire an attorney to be sure you’re in compliance with the state law where you live. Like most laws, statutes around artificial insemination are quite vague and over broad.
Not surprising, Marotta is appealing the judge’s ruling.