A Mississippi court ruling that awarded parental rights to an anonymous sperm donor over the child’s other parent after the couple’s divorce was recently overturned by the state’s supreme court. When the same-sex couple was married, their son was conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF), and he was given the same last name as the non-biological parent. However, when the mothers’ relationship ended through divorce, the lower court didn’t recognize the child’s non-biological mother as his legal parent. Instead, that court found the anonymous sperm donor had parental rights. The non-biological mother was awarded visitation rights and was ordered to pay child support, but she was not recognized as the child’s legal parent.
The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the non-biological mother should be treated as an equal co-parent with her ex-wife. This ruling is a win for both gay rights activists and homosexual couples adding to their families through IVF, as it recognizes the parents’ intention to co-parent their child when he was born.
The child’s biological mother argued that because her ex-wife hadn’t legally adopted their son when he was born and hadn’t formally terminated the sperm donor’s rights, that the non-biological mother should not be awarded parental rights. The court wasn’t moved by this argument, however. They noted that to deny the non-biological mother parental rights could potentially leave the boy an orphan if the biological mother was to die prematurely,
Advocates for the non-biological mother were also happy to see that the ruling in this case was unanimous, as opposed to a 2015 same-sex divorce matter in which two Mississippi Supreme Court justices questioned the constitutional basis for legalizing same-sex marriage.
Anyone considering using reproductive technology such as IVF to grow their families should work with an experienced reproductive rights attorney. Doing so can help ensure that contractual provisions are designed to comply with state and federal laws, and to protect the expectant parents’ rights.
Our team of experts has the experience and ability to tailor a comprehensive family plan for you. After a thorough review of your third-party parenting needs we will present you with a contract and finalize your parental rights, if necessary, that will suit your needs. Contact us today to get started!