Sperm Donor Ordered to Pay Child Support: Why This is an LGBT Issue


The state of Kansas is pursuing 46-year-old William Marotta for child support for a child conceived using his donated sperm. When Marotta donated his sperm to help lesbian couple Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner conceive a child in 2009 — a good deed for which he didn't charge anything — they all signed a contract freeing him of any parental responsibility, including financial support.

Then in 2010, the couple applied for state health insurance for their young daughter. During the application process, the women were told that they couldn't get any assistance unless they revealed the name of the sperm donor, according to ABC News. They did, and the state notified Marotta that they consider him responsible for more than $6,000 worth of medical care for the child.

The state doesn't recognize the contract the parties signed because the artificial insemination wasn't performed by a physician. This is a ridiculous requirement for several reasons.

"If, as the petitioner alleges, the use of a licensed physician is a primary requirement,” Marotta's attorneys wrote, "then any woman in Kansas could have sperm donations shipped to her house, inseminate herself without a licensed physician and seek out the donor for financial support because her actions made him a father, not a sperm donor. This goes against the very purpose of the statute to protect sperm donors as well as birth mothers."

In addition to the threat outlined by Marotta’s attorneys, the requirement highlights a rigid and narrow understanding of family, and a resistance to let people define their own. Marotta entered into a written agreement with Bauer and Schreiner where everyone understood and agreed upon the terms. That should be enough.

With homosexual relationships and families becoming more commonly accepted, the law needs to catch up and allow for family structures beyond the traditional mother, father, child composition. If a friend or a generous stranger wants to help a couple become a family, they shouldn't have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to do so. Cases like this will only discourage people from donating genetic material — which might be exactly the point.