INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An eastern Indiana man who divorced his wife must pay child support for their son and daughter even though the children were conceived by artificial insemination using sperm donated by another man, the state appeals court has ruled.
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected the Delaware County man's argument that he shouldn't have to pay child support because the children were not his biological offspring.
According to court documents, the couple married in 2001 and began investigating artificial insemination after they learned that the husband's vasectomy was likely irreversible. A friend offered his sperm and the husband agreed because he and the other man resembled each other and shared similar "characteristics and morals," the documents say.
They performed the procedure without a doctor and gave birth to a boy in 2004, court records say. Two years later, she repeated the procedure and gave birth to a girl.
The husband treated the children as if they were his biological children and after the couple separated in 2009, spent time with them, and helped pay for day care, clothing and sports fees, the documents say. But when the husband filed for divorce in October 2010, he said he was not obligated to pay support because the kids were not his biological children. He also said he had not consented to the artificial insemination. His ex-wife contended he had.
A Delaware County judge ruled last May that the boy and girl were children of the marriage and that the husband was required to help support them. The state appeals court upheld that decision.
Indiana has laws that regulate artificial insemination to some extent — requiring HIV testing of sperm, for example — but there is no statute regarding parental rights or child support.
Attorney Paul Baylor of Anderson, who represented the mother, said advances in the biological sciences present unforeseen problems that decades-old laws aren't equipped to handle.