Do sperm donors have parental or fathers' rights?

With advances in medical reproductive technologies Florida residents may know that many infertile couples and same sex couples wanting to have a child of their own can now have one. Particularly when it comes to sperm donors, science is ahead of the laws which govern the complex area of parental rights, and other issues, such as child support, for the men who donate their DNA.

Florida residents may not find it surprising that in today's society what makes or defines a family is very different than it used to be. In fact, nowadays many courts are being confronted with the questions of whether or not a man who chooses to donate his sperm should be considered a parent of the child conceived by using his sperm. Even though most sperm donors are anonymous, the current movement is that an infertile couple or a same sex couple may ask someone they know to donate sperm.

In one specific case, earlier this year a man who responded to a Craigslist advertisement about a same sex couple looking for a sperm donor to help them conceive was ordered by a court to not only pay child support, but also to repay nearly $4,000 that was provided in public assistance to the child conceived through his sperm donation. In this case, the man apparently signed a document giving up his parental rights. However, because the same sex couple did not complied with law governing the sperm donation, the court ruled against the man.

In another case, actor Jason Patric decided to have a child through in vitro fertilization with this ex-girlfriend. A boy was conceived. However, the actor's ex-girlfriend refused to let him see his son. Here, a court ruled that since the actor was merely a sperm donor he did not have not parental rights. His case is pending at the appellate level. The changing definition of family, and the increase in the use of reproductive technologies to conceive, has left many courts with questions of how a sperm donor should be treated when it comes to family law issues such as child support, parental rights and more.

Source: Communities Digital News, "Should sperm donor and dad mean the same thing?" Susan Ruth, May 3, 2014

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