Craigslist sperm donor faces special hearing

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Craigslist sperm donor faces special hearing

The Kansas Supreme Court continues to make headlines on the Craigslist case where a William Marotta donated his sperm after reading an online ad.

On the flipside, the ladies who placed the ad were Jennifer Schreiner, and her former partner, Angela Bauer.

Here’s some background to bring readers up to speed.

In 2009, the ladies decided to undergo IVF.  Although they fostered and adopted several children, they wanted to have their own.

Reporter Aly Van Dyke from The Capital Journal wrote in 2012, “The Topeka couple initially tried to obtain a specimen from a cryobank in Chicago, Bauer said, but ran into trouble with their family practitioner. The doctor refused to sign a release stating the couple capable of raising a child, she said.”

Instead, the ladies placed an ad on Craigslist for a sperm donor.

During their screening, the ladies chose Marotta and did the insemination in the privacy of their own home.  After one try, Schreiner became pregnant.

Van Dyke wrote, “Today, that child is in the middle of a state lawsuit. The Kansas Department of Children and Families has filed a child support claim against the sperm donor for the couple’s now 3-year-old girl, despite a signed contract waiving his parenting responsibilities.”

How did the Kansas Department of Children and Families get involved?

Well, it all started with Medicaid.  Bauer earned the main source of income, but after being diagnosed with a serious illness, her partner sought Medicaid for their daughter.

This heated court case is to determine if Marotta is obligated to pay child support; and, while Bauer and Schreiner are no longer a couple, they still co-parent their children.

Now, let’s fast forward to the latest court hearing.

A few days ago, The Capital Journal published, “The Kansas Supreme Court has ordered a Shawnee County District Court to conduct a hearing to determine whether genetic testing of William Marotta is in the best interest of the child he allegedly fathered through a sperm donation.  The court, in a split decision released this past Friday, negated a May 2014 ruling by Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi ordering Marotta to undergo genetic testing to determine if he is, in fact, the father of the now 4-year-old child.”

The Kansas Department of Children and Families still maintains that if Marotta is the biological father, he must pay up.

The Capital Journal went on to report, “Marotta claimed he had signed a contract forfeiting all rights to fatherhood, but the state DCF claimed he was still liable for child support — a position supported by Mattivi’s ruling.” The article also pointed out, “Mattivi ruled the contract between Marotta, Schreiner and her female partner was moot because the women didn’t follow a 1994 Kansas statute that Mattivi said required a licensed physician to perform the artificial insemination in cases involving sperm donors.”

When the state made a motion to mandate genetic testing for Marotta, his defense sued to stop it.  The defense underscored a “Ross Hearing,” which concludes if genetic testing is in the “best interest of a child.”

And it got noticed.

“In a majority order written by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, the high court ruled that Kansas law dictates that the best interests of a child must prevail in determining parental rights and obligations,” Van Dyke reported.

For these legal proceedings, Nuss wrote, ‘“Ross held that the shifting of parental roles from a presumed parent to a biological parent could be detrimental to the emotional and physical well-being of any child, thus necessitating a hearing to determine if the shifting is in the best interests of the child.”’

The next court- ordered step is for Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi to conduct the “Ross Hearing.”

Obviously, there is a clear public opinion divide.

One group says Marotta’s sperm donation was nothing more than helping a lesbian couple conceive and he should not be forced to pay for child support.  The other consensus argues Marotta is responsible because he should have done his legal due diligence before donating his sperm.