Sperm Donor Denied Parental Rights for Child of Same-Sex Couple

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Sperm Donor Denied Parental Rights for Child of Same-Sex Couple

A NY appellate court ruled recently that a sperm donor does not have any parental rights over the biological child who was conceived using his sperm, giving the parents – a same-sex couple – the same rights heterosexual couples have in sperm-donor arrangements.

When the two women married in 2014, a male acquaintance volunteered to donate his sperm to help them conceive. The trio agreed, informally, that the acquaintance would have no custody or visitation rights, and that the child’s mothers would have no rights to ongoing child support payments. Unfortunately, after the baby was born, the donor filed a paternity action with the court.

The Family Court denied that request, finding that although the agreement the parties entered into had been informal, the sperm donor willingly and knowingly entered into it and that there was no question that he understood the nature of the agreement.

The sperm donor appealed, raising new questions about the parents’ fitness. However, the lower court’s finding was upheld. Because the appellate court’s recent ruling unanimously upheld the lower court’s decision, the sperm donor cannot appeal to the state’s highest court without obtaining rarely granted permission to appeal.

Anyone who wants to add to their family through sperm or egg donation should carefully protect their legal rights. That’s true even if they know the donor personally. In fact, it may be even more important to ensure the legal “i”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed in those situations, because of the potential for the donor to have a change of heart, as occurred in this NY case.

Whether you choose to use a known donor or an anonymous donor, working with a skilled reproductive law attorney can provide valuable peace of mind knowing you have taken steps to formally protect your rights – and the rights of your family.

Our firm provides comprehensive legal and counseling services for those using assisted reproduction with a third party. Each client is ensured of receiving personalized attention, support and counseling. We also help guide parents through the finalization of their parental rights, which can seem daunting and confusing. Contact us today to get started!