Monday, August 16, 2010
Sperm Donation and Law
WHAT IS THE LAW REGARDING SPERM DONORS AND PATERNITY RIGHTS/CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATIONS?
So, I keep seeing ads for Jennifer Aniston's new film, The Switch. In the age of independent women, single moms, and vanishing importance of men, what is the law regarding sperm donation???
Short answer: sperm donors (known or unknown) have no paternity rights or obligations IF the sperm donation is done CORRECTLY, through licensed physician or licensed spem bank.
The relevant law is CA Family Code 7613:
(a) If, under the supervision of a licensed physician and
surgeon and with the consent of her husband, a wife is inseminated
artificially with semen donated by a man not her husband, the husband
is treated in law as if he were the natural father of a child
thereby conceived. The husband's consent must be in writing and
signed by him and his wife. The physician and surgeon shall certify
their signatures and the date of the insemination, and retain the
husband's consent as part of the medical record, where it shall be
kept confidential and in a sealed file. However, the physician and
surgeon's failure to do so does not affect the father and child
relationship. All papers and records pertaining to the insemination,
whether part of the permanent record of a court or of a file held by
the supervising physician and surgeon or elsewhere, are subject to
inspection only upon an order of the court for good cause shown.
(b) The donor of semen provided to a licensed physician and
surgeon or to a licensed sperm bank for use in artificial
insemination or in vitro fertilization of a woman other than the
donor's wife is treated in law as if he were not the natural father
of a child thereby conceived.
So...what if the parties had a previous intimate relationship which did not lead to conception - but the sperm donation did?
Case on point:
STEVEN S., Plaintiff and Respondent, v. DEBORAH D., Defendant and Appellant.
COURT OF APPEAL OF CALIFORNIA, SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT, DIVISION FOUR
There, Steven and Deborah had agreement that Steven would be sperm donor. Deborah was artificially inseminated by Steven's semen, and got pregnant. However, the pregnancy was not to term. Later, Steven and Deborah had sexual relationship, but Deborah never got pregnant. They broke up. After they broke up, Deborah used Steven's sperm again, and this time, got pregnant and had baby.
Trial Court held that 7613 does not apply, and accorded paternity rights to Steven.
Appeal Court disagreed, and held for Deborah - NO paternity rights for Steven. Appeal Court reaffirmed the Legislative intent of FC 7613 - which is protection of the right of women to bear children through sperm donors without fear of paternity claims, and also to protect sperm donors from child support obligations.