Kansas Court ruling: Sperm donor ordered to pay child support

A Kansas sperm donor who tried to help a lesbian couple by making his donation five years ago has found himself caught in the middle of a child support case and is now asked by the state to pay child support.

William Marotta says he signed documents waiving his parental rights, but Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi disagrees. Marotta is ordered to pay child support on grounds that he failed to conform to Kansas law, which states that a licensed physician must be involved in an artificial insemination process.

Documents show that the lesbian couple performed the artificial insemination at home with Marotta's donated sperm. Marotta told CNN affiliate WBW, "I donated genetic material, and that was it for me."

The story began on March 2009 when Marotta answered an ad on Craigslist from a Topeka lesbian couple seeking donated sperm. Marotta delivered three cupfuls of his sperm for free to the women.

In December 2009, one of the women gave birth to a daughter, according to court documents. Later the two women separated and one of them stopped working due to illness and applied to the state for help. That's when the state contacted him for child support.

Marotta said he would assume no financial responsibility for the child, who is now 4 years old, but the Kansas Department for Children and Families said any agreement would not apply since no doctor involved.

Ben Swinnen, Marotta's lawyer, accused the state of being politically motivated in its pursuit of his client. Kansas is a state where same-sex marriage is not legal.

Swinnen said the state is asking for $4,000 to recoup the money it has spent and for Marotta to pay child support, which could amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

According to Swinnen, the Kansas court has failed to address many of the challenges brought forward by Marotta under the guise of statutory interpretation of the law that requires the donor sperm to be provided to a licensed physician.

Swinnen said, "From a very narrowly crafted statute, the court has made a very broad rule-that is the issue." Swinnen said he planned to appeal the decision.

Marotta, who met the child once, by chance, at a carnival when the girl was with one of her parents, said he has no intention of assuming a paternal role. "I'm not her parent," he said.

But under Kansas law, Marotta is her father because he did not have the insemination carried out by a doctor so there was no way to document that he was the sperm donor and not the lover of the girl's mother, according to Elizabeth Cohen, CNN senior medical correspondent.

Artificial insemination costs about $3,000 for a single attempt and sometimes several tries are needed. "It's a lot cheaper to get someone to come on over with their donation, and then do it yourself at home," Cohen said.

Meanwhile, Marotta owes legal fees and is ordered to pay child support. He has taken his story to the news media.

When asked whether or not he would answer the ad again, knowing now what he knows, Marotta said, "Probably not."

While this has become a big story in the news and legal community, it is worth noting that state law takes precedence over any legal agreement if it does not comply with state law. If you are looking for legal counsel on family law matters such as divorce, child custody, child support or paternity, you may contact the Stange Law Firm, PC at 855-805-0595 or visit us online. We offer clients a confidential half-hour consultation to meet with a divorce attorney in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia & Springfield in Missouri and Illinois.

Source: Kansas court says sperm donor must pay child support, By Chandrika Narayan, CNN