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Sperm Donor Not Liable for Child Support, Court Rules

Posted Jan 3, 2008 11:53 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that a private sperm donor does not have to pay child support to a woman who promised he would have no financial obligations as a result of the arrangement.

Joel McKiernan had been paying up to $1,500 a month to support twin boys born after he donated sperm at a clinic to his ex-girlfriend, the Associated Press reports. Lower courts had refused to enforce the agreement, saying parents cannot bargain away children’s rights to financial support.

The court said in a 3-2 decision (PDF) that a growing consensus exists that anonymous, institutional sperm donation does not impose any obligations on the donor. The court said the facts of the arrangement before it “reveal no obvious basis for analyzing this case any differently.”

Public policy supports the decision, the majority concluded.

“Where a would-be donor cannot trust that he is safe from a future support action, he will be considerably less likely to provide his sperm to a friend or acquaintance who asks, significantly limiting a would-be mother's reproductive prerogatives,'' the court said.

A hat tip to Blogonaut, which posted the ruling.

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