Texas residents who have made the selfless choice to be sperm donors for prospective parents who cannot conceive children on their own deserve thanks for their generosity. In one Midwestern state, however, the man is facing an unpaid child support bill running into the thousands of dollars.
Texans, however, should know that there is little likelihood of this nightmare unfolding here, because the state's laws have been updated. The man entered into a private agreement with a lesbian couple to be their donor. According to the state where they live, however, the man is still technically the father of the child because the agreement didn't go through the official legal and medical channels, thus the man owes years of child support. He might even have to pay child support until the now-3-year-old child turns 18.
One of the reasons why this nightmare could have unfolded for the man is because the state law has not caught up with modern realities. The women used a home-based insemination kit, and the current law only covers sperm donors and parents who use a doctor for the insemination. Texas, however, is one of nine states that prohibit any donor from being sued for child support, regardless of if the insemination was done at home or in a doctor's office.
This case could end up going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, to provide clarity for the majority of states that have vague and antiquated laws. While Texans have less to worry about, people who are considering being sperm donors should make sure they are aware of what the law calls for and what could happen.
Source: Washington Times, "Who's your daddy? Sperm donors, paternity, child support and the law," Myra Fleischer, Jan. 17, 2013