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In a recent blog post, we shared the story of a court battle being waged in Australia over a sperm donor’s parental rights for a now 11-year old child. Her mothers argued that the girl’s biological father was simply a sperm donor. While his name appears on their daughter’s birth certificate, the women don’t feel he should have any parental rights.
For his part, the biological father claimed he has played an active and continuous role in the girl’s upbringing, despite the fact that he had a falling out with her mothers. When a lower court ruled that he did not have the right to prevent the girl’s mothers from moving with her to New Zealand, he appealed the decision to Australia’s High Court.
The High Court’s decision came in mid-June, with a ruling that may impact other families who conceive with the help of donor sperm or donor eggs. In short, the court sided with the biological father, finding that he is a legal parent of the girl. This ruling was based in large part on what the court believed were the man’s efforts and established intention to forge a meaningful relationship with, and to co-parent, the child.
It remains to be seen whether this will spur other sperm or egg donors to pursue parental rights; the facts of this specific case make it different from a situation where an anonymous sperm or egg donor with no attachment to a child other than biological later pursues parental rights.
One thing is certain, however: Clarifying and documenting the intentions of all parties – the intended parents and the donor or gestational carrier – can go a long way in protecting your rights, and the rights of your children conceived with the assistance of a surrogate, egg donor, sperm donor or via embryo donation.
To find out more about how The Surrogacy Law Center can help, contact us today!