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Should Anonymous Sperm Donors Pay Child Support?

In a novel case that’s being heard by the Court of Appeals here in Massachusetts, a woman who had 2 daughters through artificial insemination is demanding that her anonymous sperm donor’s identity be revealed so that she could establish paternity, child support and obtain medical information.  The case is on appeal from Boston, Suffolk County probate court. [article here]

Sperm banks’ list of depositors are typically sealed tighter than a Swiss bank vault (although recently, that’s not so tight either).  This is to protect the possible children of the donors and more importantly the donors themselves.  The outcome of this case could jeopardize the entire sperm donation industry and therefore the hopes of a lot of women who wish to be artificially inseminated by anonymous donors.

If the identity of this donor were ordered to be disclosed – even if he ultimately would not be ordered to pay child support – it would put a chill on anyone who would even consider being a sperm donor.  They would fear the threat of having to be dragged into family court and established to be the father.

Legally, I don’t believe the donor’s identity should be revealed.  It would break the mother’s contract with the sperm bank and it would go against public policy.  Personally, I believe this is a very selfish and desperate action by the mother.

5 Comments on “Should Anonymous Sperm Donors Pay Child Support?

  1. Any case seeking the disclosure of the identity of an anonymous sperm (or egg) donor is of concern to those working in assisted reproduction. My reading of this case (available only through the Lawyers Weekly firewall at present), however, shows it may be an outlier for a number of reasons:

    1. The birth mother never signed an agreement acknowledging that the identity of the sperm donor would remain anonymous, and alleged that she had conversations with the sperm bank in which it was represented the donor would play a role in the potential children’s upbringing.

    2. Disclosure was sought, in part, on the basis of the mothers’ contention that the twins alleged to have been created through artificial insemination suffered from genetic disorders, thus making the dissemination of information about the donor of potentially vital interest to the welfare of the children;

    3. As the insemination and birth of the children took place (using sperm alleged to have originated in Massachusetts) in England, where it appears the use of anonymous gamete donors is far more restricted than in the US, the Court noted there were serious questions as to whether English, rather than Massachustts law applied to the case.

    The holding of the Appeals Court was little more than one stating it would not disturb an order providing for “in camera” (confidential) discovery by an intermediary of the identity of the alleged donor, the existence of the alleged genetic disorder, and whether the alleged sperm donor was the biological parent of the children in question. Given the unique (and in some respects, bizarre) facts set forth in the pleadings, I don’t think the opinion indicates (at least in the absence of the presence of serious genetic disorders) that Massachusetts courts are likely to compel the disclosure of the identity of sperm (or egg) donors where both the donor and the recipient(s) had expressly agreed to donor and recipient confidentiality vis-a-vis each other. While the ultimate resolution of the case may be of interest, I doubt it will have much of an effect on the law of assisted reproduction under protocols I believe are ordinarily followed in the US.

  2. 007 Agent Bond would have been broke and live in shelter if this Law established.
    Another fact that women can not be trusted, even under black and white papers, in time, they would change their minds and break it with their OWN interpretation of their needs.

    burn the record, that is the only way to avoid crazy woman’s action.

  3. Why shouldn’t sperm donors be made to pay child support if regular fathers are? If they don’t have to, that means child support is effectively a SEX TAX! Personally, I think child support should be abolished – along with alimony and divorce settlements, it’s just big government’s way of administering prostitution. Wow, that was one expensive f%$#!

  4. Casey, I agree with the abolishment of alimony and divorce tax. If a man divorces his wife, she should have to fund her own lifestyle. However, child support has to remain because most fathers would not support their children. Children should be taken care of by their parents.

  5. Loveroneday and Casey, you are both delusional. An anonymous sperm donor is not in ANY way the same as “regular” fathers. They sign a contract prior to donation ensuring that they will remain anonymous and never be held financially responsible for the children. If there was no such contract, NO ONE would donate for fear of financial repercussions.

    And about the abolishment of alimony, are you aware that many mothers stay at home and care for their children full time? So when they are dumped out on the street with no career or work experience, they have no way to support themselves or their children. It’s not about maintaining a way of life, it’s about taking care of the mother of your children who took care of them full time and sacrificed her own well being to do so. Doesn’t quite seem fair to leave her empty-handed now, does it?

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