Choice Moms have been discussing the ramifications of the Kansas Sperm Donor lawsuit, in which a sperm donor is being asked by the state to pay child support for the child conceived to a lesbian couple.
The couple never asked the man, who they found through an advertisement — for financial support. He was helping them out by voluntarily offering sperm so they could raise a child together, without involving the added expense of a fertility doctor and sperm bank. But after splitting up, the custodial parent fell on hard financial times, and applied for state benefits. That’s when the state stepped in to indicate that the sperm donor — though he was not involved in raising the child — was required to pay child support in order for the mother to qualify for temporary state aid.
This is not exclusive at all to Kansas, for having outdated laws. MOST states don’t yet have an updated definition of sperm donation and insemination as a method to parenthood. MOST states would require the same, when an insemination is not conducted in a doctor’s office, with a known donor.
I have, in fact, heard from many Choice Moms who have faced this very issue — generally after losing a job.
And, in fact, I have been one of these women. After I relocated to Minnesota from New York City, leaving behind lucrative publishing work in order to raise my daughter closer to my family — and to afford to have a second child — my finances were tight. I was embarking on self-employment, with the publishing of “Choosing Single Motherhood” and the development of the earliest version of this website. I had poor health coverage, and, income-wise, qualified for the state-funded MinnesotaCare program.
But…. they wanted me to name my known donor as someone liable for child support. I argued my case — I brought them the chapter in my book that explained that known donors are NOT parents for our child, any more than a birth parent of a child placed for adoption would be, and should not be held financially liable. It didn’t work. I would have needed to go to court to fight the rule. And I considered it, even getting in touch with local third-party reproductive technology and adoption attorney Steve Snyder.
Ultimately, however, I had a newborn…. and then a fiance who turned into a (short-lived) husband with health benefits… and I dropped the idea of fighting the good fight, focusing instead on trying to earn more income with my Choice Moms and communications consulting business.
My story has been written about recently as part of the coverage of the Kansas event. I will likely be representing my story to the Minnesota legislator in a new attempt to revise our laws, through Snyder. You can read one version of the story here in the local Minneapolis Star Tribune.
This is the Associated Press story. (No judgement made yet, as of October 2013.)