Kansas Demands Child Support Payments From Sperm Donor

test tube babyWe have been following cases where sperm donors have been held for child support or alternatively sought parental rights. The latest such case is out of Kansas where the state is pursuing a sperm donor for child support. William Marotta responded to an advertisement by a lesbian couple to donate sperm, but, after the couple split up, the state insisted on being given his name as the father and pursued him for monthly support payments.


Angela Bauer and her former partner, Jennifer Schreiner, put the advertisement on Craig’s list in March 2009 and Marotta decided to help out. Recently he was told that the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) recently compelled Bauer to reveal the name as a condition for state support. Since the state does not recognize same-sex marriage, the couple had to adopt the child. They adopted a total of eight children during over the course of their relationship. This appears the only child by artificial insemination. The couple elected to artificially inseminate Schreiner. Bauer cannot support the child without state support due to an illness. The state said that if the parents did not reveal the donor’s name, it would withhold health benefits. Marotta, a 46-year-old machinist, believes that the state is actually targeting him out of hostility for same-sex couples.

Ironically, since the state does not recognize same-sex marriage, it cannot collect child support from the women.

Marotta signed an agreement relinquishing all legal claims to the child but the state insists that this does not relieve him of child support obligations. He is fighting the agency action though he is facing high legal costs.

Source: Washington Post

68 thoughts on “Kansas Demands Child Support Payments From Sperm Donor”

  1. This issue seems to narrow down to a rule of insertion. There should be a Dong Rule. If the sperm went in with a dong during bang, with consent, then the owner of the dong is good for the child support obligation. If the sperm went in with an eye dropper then the squeezer of the eye dropper is good for the child support obligation. That could have been the co habitor here. Whats sauce for the goose …. is geese for a gander. Or something like that. There should be a two dongs and you’re out rule too. or Two.

  2. mathso,

    Don’t agree with the instructions to the jury. Inferences can be made on any basis, not on the basis of law or evidence or argument.
    Thus lacking any other support, they are speculations after the fact and have no basis to stand in a jury decision. IMHO.
    I am not a lawyer and perhaps you are:
    Otherwise let me refer you to two comments made by GeneH, see above.
    I hide myself in the shadow of his greater knowledge. I am just expressing opinions, ie mouthing off. Permitted as I understand the rules. 😉

    He seemed to cover it all except as to speculation.
    Since they could not marry, and could not seek lawyer support (do we know this or speculation), their intent was clear. Ie to assume a parent*s role and responsibilities. but then i am inferring/speculating again.

    😉

  3. GeneH,

    yeah well:
    “And as info I believe that this does not give free license to free phucking men without a contract a bye on child support after DNA proof is established.”
    was one of my beauties.

    Your answer I could follow only partially as need visual aids to grasp the relationships…….,and maybe a law degree.

    Thanks anyway. My point was only hoping that this gave no free ride to those sowing their oats in vivo while bachelors, Answer seems to be no.
    I am content.

    But my head is spinning. Think I will sit this one out.

  4. Our state and federal, and even local governments are filled with people who are batsh*t crazy.

  5. The sperm donor should voluntarily give up his parental rights to a convicted felon on death row in Texas. The State of Kansas could not have any right to interfere in this action. After it was completed, the legal father would live in Texas. The State of Kansas would have to file for support from HIM under the UIFSA laws. Then the states of Kansas AND TEXAS would have state interests in not killing the guy. His sentence could be commuted to life without parole and everybody wins. They even save money on his last meal.

  6. idealist707

    Recently I was told that a jury was instructed that it could make reasonable inferences, but it could not speculate. That the insemination did not conform to Kansas law is to me a reasonable inference, not speculation. Why? Because if it did conform, Mr. Marotta would not have any legal responsibility in this matter and all three adults involved are reportedly trying to keep Mr. Marotta from such responsibility.

  7. Juris,

    “Do we know the couple would have married had it been allowed in KS?”

    I think that can be inferred true by their actions both before this event (adopting children together), their actions in seeking a biological child with at least part of the couple’s DNA, and their actions in support of Marotta in light of state action. They view the child as a product of their union as assisted by Marotta.

  8. id707,

    Could you clarify that statement? I’m not exactly clear on what it is you are trying to say. That this doesn’t give a pass to men without a contract? If so, then, no – this would not give a free pass on csp’s for biological fathers without a contract. The only illegality here as a technical point is not using a doctor and the legal parents being in a relationship the State of Kansas doesn’t approve of namely a homosexual marriage. It sounds like all the other bases (liability, legal guardianship, etc.) were covered in the contract which otherwise covering the intent of Kansas Law to shield sperm donors was met. It’s arguable that the contract upholds the intent of laws if not the technical formality. That formality is strictly related to doctor participation which as I pointed out above can be characterized as arbitrary and a restriction on health care options favoring the “wealthy” (e.g. those who can afford to pay for artificial insemination through a doctor). Therefore, the argument that the contract should not be voided as a matter of public policy has some merit as the substantive intent and form otherwise meets Kansas requirements.

    Consider this: would this be an issue for a same sex infertile couple? Would the state pursue the legal parent or the biological parent? The legal parent. Because Kansas only recognizes heterosexual couples as married. The state is essentially ignoring the legal relationships of parents to child to focus on the biological relationship of one parent and a biological sperm donor regardless of their actual legal relationship as established by contract.

  9. As Waldo pointed out, the post is a little misleading.

    Child support is the child’s right. Thus, parents cannot contract away the right of children to look to their parents for support, and any agreement does not inhibit a later court’s power to enter a child support order.

    This is an unfortunate situation and an absurd result, but one that could have been avoided had the donor consulted an experienced attorney. No good deed goes unpunished, indeed.

    Gene, I agree with your post in that this result is no doubt illogical. However, I am not sure that gay marriage is a factor in this one. Do we know the couple would have married had it been allowed in KS? Had the donee couple been man and woman but not married, the state agency would most likely still had pursued the donor. Unfortuantely for the donor, your point goes toward the constiutionality of the statute, which costs legal fees to assert effectively.

    From the article: “Ironically, since the state does not recognize same-sex marriage, it cannot collect child support from the women.”

    Again, I am not sure the lack of same-sex marriage recognition by Kansas makes a difference or precludes the state from seeking support from the other “parent.” Had the child been legally adopted by the other “parent,” whether man or woman, the state would have been able to pursue child support against that person.

    The problem would be the same even if the donee couple was man/woman, as the man in that instance would not be legally responsible for support (or have custody rights) absent the in loco parentis doctrine.

    An increasing trend among state courts is to expand the in loco parentis doctrine to apply to same-sex couples. Here, it does not sound as there is any reason the state cannot seek an order under this doctrine against the noncustodial woman.

    http://newyorklawschool.typepad.com/leonardlink/2011/08/nebraska-supreme-court-extends-in-loco-parentis-doctrine-to-same-sex-co-parent.html

  10. This is the apex of bureaucrats with wild hairs. The swiftest way to resolve this would be to do a negative PR campaign against the state agency that did this, naming the directors with their personal names in the news as being ones who will stoop to any level to suck money out of any citizen that offers to help others out, that they are against the lesbian couples having their own children.

    A grass roots internet campaign would be the best and cheapest way to solve this. Keep up the phone calls demanding the directors fix this outrage. The leadership will CYA every time, they will cave to public pressure.

  11. GeneH,

    And as info I believe that this does not give free license to free phucking men without a contract a bye on child support after DNA proof is established.

    I don’t know your law, only a little of ours.

  12. Mahtso,

    Cam’t and don’t agree. Waldo came with a lot of assumptions based on the Craig’s list mention in the blog/article. No proof of actual circumstances, conformity with law requirements or what ever took place. Speculation only.

    Support it if you will. It is your rep here. And yours only.

    Hope Waldo reads this too. It concerns him also.

  13. leejcarrol and others,

    Seems like the only ones benefiting from contract law are lawyers, bureaucrats and judges—-with of course complaining fathers not forgotten.

    Woman were made for “screwing”.
    God said so in the Bible, and he did not say in what position or orifice or generally in what way.

    Or did he?

  14. “A lesbian couple who found a sperm donor on Craigslist three years ago never meant the man to be any more than just that, and they are supporting his fight against the state’s request he pay child support.

    “We’re kind of at a loss,” Topekan Angela Bauer, 40, said Saturday, speaking on behalf of her and her former partner, Jennifer Schreiner. “We are going to support him in whatever action he wants to go forward with.”

    The Kansas Department for Children and Families has filed a child support claim against Topekan William Marotta, who provided sperm used to artificially inseminate Schreiner.” Topeka Star Ledger

  15. “Bauer and Schreiner had signed an agreement with Marotta releasing him from all responsibility for the child. ”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/30/kansas-sperm-donor_n_2382677.html

    The argument that the contract comported with state law by has merit.

    “Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, said in a statement. ‘If a sperm donor makes his contribution through a licensed physician and a child is conceived, the donor is held harmless under state statue. In cases where the parties do not go through a physician or a clinic, there remains the question of who actually is the father of a child or children.'”

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/02/3164305/state-trying-to-make-sperm-donor.html

    This creates a false equivalence where “biological father” equates to “legal parent” which is not the case in this instance as the child was never his legally by terms of the agreement. The requirement that a donor be held not responsible only if a doctor is involved is arbitrary in light of that shield being created by private contract and imposing such a limitation arguably seeks to restrict the reproductive rights to people who can afford to employ a doctor. That is a distinct problem in and of itself.

    There is the viable alternative of seeking the contribution of the legal but non-custodial parent’s contribution which the State of Kansas will not do because they do not want to recognize a gay marriage despite the fact that the legal guardians of the children are Bauer and Schreiner.

    The State of Kansas has opened a can of worms on this one.

    They may not be able to wiggle out of it.

  16. Waldo identified the key point: it appears that they did not follow the law regarding artificial insemination practices.

    leejcarroll’s assertion that “a contract …should be able to adequately address financial liability possibilities in the future for the sperm donor” is partially correct, but only if that contract is also in conformity with the law. As Waldo points out, the law as not followed here.

    Also, the post appears to have an inaccuracy that caused me some confusion: Ms. Bauer did not request the aid, Ms. Schreiner (the biological mother) did.

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