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Old 01-06-2013, 02:07 PM   #1
happygirl
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Kansas Wants Sperm Donor to Pay Child Support

Wow, is all I can say


The state of Kansas is seeking child support from a man who says he signed away all parental rights when he donated sperm to a lesbian couple.

"It came out of the blue. He was absolutely floored," attorney Ben Swinnen said of his client William Marotta.

Marotta, 46, met Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner in 2009 when he responded to a Craigslist ad from a lesbian couple in Topeka, Kan., who were offering $50 per sperm donation, according to legal documents.

Marotta and his wife met with the women and he agreed to donate to them without accepting the money, Swinnen said.

All three signed a sperm donor contract that stated that he would have no paternal rights and would be in no way responsible for any child that resulted from the donation.

"Jennifer and Angie further agree to indemnify William and hold him harmless for any child support payments demanded of him by any other person or entity, public or private, including any district attorney's office or other state or county agency, regardless of the circumstances or said demand," the agreement read.

Marotta donated and Schreiner gave birth to a little girl through artificial insemination, according to court documents. The issue that would later become a legal factor, however, is that the artificial insemination was not performed by a licensed physician, which Swinnen said Marotta did not know at the time.

"He sporadically heard that the child was born, but that was about it," Swinnen said. "He had no contact with the child."

"Three years forward, the couple sought state assistance for the child and the Kansas Department of Children and Families sought out of them the name of the father and said they would not provide assistance unless they provide the name," Swinnen said.


The women gave the state Marotta's name and on Oct. 3, attorney Mark McMillan filed a petition on behalf of the Department of Children and Families that claimed that Marotta was the baby's father and needed to support her.

The filing said that the state had spent $189 on the baby from July 2012 to September 2012 and nearly $6,000 in medical assistance, which Marotta had a duty to pay.

Swinnen said Marotta was "absolutely floored" by the petition, especially after signing the agreement.

Marotta's attorneys claimed that as the sperm donor, he had no responsibility to pay. But the state shot back saying that the agreement signed was invalid because the artificial insemination was not performed by a licensed physician, according to legal documents.

"The state does not recognize the contract. We'll see if the courts in Kansas do," Swinnen said. "We have filed a motion to dismiss. We hope to prevail, but this is the first round."

Kansas law states that the donor is "treated in law" as if he were not the father if the donation of semen is provided to a licensed physician.

Marotta's attorneys protested this requirement.

"If, as the petitioner alleges, the use of a licensed physician is a primary requirement...then any woman in Kansas could have sperm donations shipped to her house, inseminate herself without a licensed physician and seek out the donor for financial support because her actions made him a father, not a sperm donor," they wrote. "This goes against the very purpose of the statute to protect sperm donors as well as birth mothers."

The attorneys point to a similar but converse 2007 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. In that case, a sperm donor sought parental rights after making a semen donation to a woman. The woman had a child after the artificial insemination was performed by a licensed physician. The man was denied parental rights.

Even though the woman in the 2007 case used a licensed physician, Marotta's lawyers emphasized that Marotta did the same thing as the man in the 2007 case and cannot be held responsible for what the woman did with the donation.

Bauer and Schreiner did not respond to requests for comment. A representative for the Department of Children and Families said that they could not comment on any specific cases.

A hearing regarding Marotta's motion to dismiss is scheduled for Jan. 8 in Shawnee County District Court.

Last edited by happygirl; 01-06-2013 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:15 PM   #2
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I read an article about this a few days ago. I've sold a couch on Craigslist and even bought our end tables there. Baby making materials? Not so much.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:22 PM   #3
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I dont get the whole contract part... a contract is voided because its not followed by the way its suppose to? Contract is an agreement between 2 people isnt it?
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:32 PM   #4
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I can't even image how that ad must have went.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:58 PM   #5
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I dont get the whole contract part... a contract is voided because its not followed by the way its suppose to? Contract is an agreement between 2 people isnt it?
But you can't create a contract that violates state law. I can't create a contract that says you allow me to beat up a third party or that you allow me to steal something. The contract is void on it's face.

If Kansas has a law that says the only way to get out of your parental duties is to meet certain criteria and you don't meet those criteria then any of those contracts are void.

This is how the state protects itself from people who don't want to pay child support that just want to say "oh, no, I was just a sperm donor". By involving a physician, it gives weight to the truth of that.

Not only that but a party to the agreement cannot waive the state's rights. You can't sign a contract with your brother that says that I won't sue you.

""Jennifer and Angie further agree to indemnify William and hold him harmless for any child support payments demanded of him by any other person or entity, public or private, including any district attorney's office or other state or county agency, regardless of the circumstances or said demand," the agreement read."

Jennifer and Angie can't waive the states rights and say they can't demand child support. They are not agents of the state and cannot release a party from their rights.

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Old 01-06-2013, 03:05 PM   #6
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I dont get the whole contract part... a contract is voided because its not followed by the way its suppose to? Contract is an agreement between 2 people isnt it?
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:16 PM   #7
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All three signed a sperm donor contract that stated that he would have no paternal rights and would be in no way responsible for any child that resulted from the donation.

"Jennifer and Angie further agree to indemnify William and hold him harmless for any child support payments demanded of him by any other person or entity, public or private, including any district attorney's office or other state or county agency, regardless of the circumstances or said demand," the agreement read.
The fact that they included the bolded part in the contract kind of makes it seem like they contemplated this scenario happening, where a governmental entity might go after him for child support. He was agreeing that if this happened, he would be able to go after the two women to indemnify him. So I don't get why he's claiming he was "floored" by the state's petition. He knew it was a possibility, right?

This situation was full of potential problems. I really wonder about his motivation in this whole thing. I mean, if someone can only afford to look on craigslist for a donor, maybe they might have financial problems supporting the child in the future.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:35 PM   #8
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I feel bad for the poor guy. It sounds like he was too trusting of the women that they not only knew the legalities but also that they were following them. I have to wonder if they didn't know, though. Why wouldn't they have a doctor do the procedure? Why didn't they contact him as soon as the state started pushing for his name. They could have at least given him a "head's up" that the state was planning on chasing him down so he could contact an attorney in advance of getting the surprise letter. It sounds like the ladies got what they wanted and then were pretty cold to the man that helped them have a child.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by allison443 View Post
The fact that they included the bolded part in the contract kind of makes it seem like they contemplated this scenario happening, where a governmental entity might go after him for child support. He was agreeing that if this happened, he would be able to go after the two women to indemnify him. So I don't get why he's claiming he was "floored" by the state's petition. He knew it was a possibility, right?

This situation was full of potential problems. I really wonder about his motivation in this whole thing. I mean, if someone can only afford to look on craigslist for a donor, maybe they might have financial problems supporting the child in the future.
I had the same thought about the women. It seems like it was set up like they knew this was a possibility and he wasn't the brightest bulb for trusting them. It seems like everything from the wording in the contract, to not using a doctor, to not letting him know the state's intention, etc. I wondered if his agreement to not charge them wasn't some sob story they gave but at the same time makes the "donor" label possibly arguable.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:56 PM   #10
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I dont get the whole contract part... a contract is voided because its not followed by the way its suppose to? Contract is an agreement between 2 people isnt it?
Yes, the contract was not legal. The man can only waive his reponsibilities if the procedure is done by a doctor. The state is paying medical for this child and they want the father to kick in his share.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:18 PM   #11
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When I first heard about this case I assumed it was some male assisting two lesbian friends in having a baby. Then I read that he came in contact with them via a Craigslist ad and my sympathy just kind of waned.

I can understand why the women chose to do it outside of the medical establishment, most likely $$$. I'm sure a $50 payment to the donor and a turkey baster was the cheap way to go.

I feel marginally more sympathetic toward him and his wife because this is certainly different than the accidental baby created via a one night stand ..... but at the same time I'm not sure the taxpayers should have to support this baby either.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:54 PM   #12
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You know, buying sperm from a medical source is not even that expensive unless you want Nobel Prize sperm. Holy Cheapskates!

It boils down to this. You cannot just sign away your child's right to be financially supported by its bio father, UNLESS you do it the legal/medical sperm donor way. It's simple really. SOMEONE has to support that kid.

Whom shall it be? The mothers? Yeah, but clearly they cannot or will not do it. So it's a tossup between the clueless schmo who donated sperm or the good old taxpayers. Easy, that one. Why should the public at large support a child when the human being 50% responsible for them being created is able to support the child? It's plain old public policy.

And THAT is why you get your sperm from a sperm bank, etc. and NOT Craigs's List. Never mind the EEEEWWWWWWW factor.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:59 PM   #13
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I think the women may end up regreting giving his name up. If I were him and being made to pay up now, I'd be in court demanding partial custody. All they had to say was it was a drunken one night affair and she didn't know his name.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:38 AM   #14
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The whole thing is absurd. All of it. Where are the mothers of this child? Did they not know about sperm banks? $50? The guy, a complete stranger, went for it? What made him read their ad in the first place?
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:30 AM   #15
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I think the women may end up regreting giving his name up. If I were him and being made to pay up now, I'd be in court demanding partial custody. All they had to say was it was a drunken one night affair and she didn't know his name.
That was my thought or who knows -- they may even try for full custody.
I'm sure that isn't what they want but I could so see a potential for this to play out that they go for full custody, possibly get it and then ask for child support from the mother.

Stranger things have happened.

Then again, my brother got nailed from the state for back child support for this same thing (OK..NOT sperm donor but the mom of his child went on public aid & of course, gave his name as the father...which kicked in a child support order) -- the problem? He wasn't behind on child support & he paid child support through the courts!! Basically they wanted him to pay child support he already paid. So anything is possible.
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