TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple after answering an online ad is fighting the state's efforts to suddenly force him to pay child support for the now 3-year-old girl, arguing that he and the women signed an agreement waiving all of his parental rights.
The case hinges on the fact that no doctors were used for the artificial insemination. The state argues that because William Marotta didn't work through a clinic or doctor, as required by state law, he can be held responsible for about $6,000 that the child's biological mother received through public assistance — as well as future child support.
At least 10 other states have similar requirements in their laws, including California, Illinois and Missouri, the Kansas Department of Children and Families argued in a prepared court documents it gave to The Associated Press late Wednesday.
Department spokeswoman Angela de Rocha said that when a single mother seeks benefits for a child, it's routine for the department to try to determine the child's paternity and require the father to make support payments to lessen the potential cost to taxpayers.
Marotta, a 46-year-old Topeka resident, answered an ad on Craigslist in 2009 from a local couple, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, who said they were seeking a sperm donor. After exchanging emails and meeting, the three signed an agreement relieving Marotta of any financial or paternal responsibility.
But the Kansas Department for Children and Families argues the agreement isn't valid, because instead of working with a doctor, Marotta agreed to drop off containers with his sperm at the couple's home, according to documents faxed to the Shawnee County District Court late Wednesday and provided to the AP.
The women handled the artificial insemination themselves using a syringe, and Schreiner eventually became pregnant, according to the documents.
Late last year, after she and Bauer broke up, Schreiner received public assistance from the state to help care for the girl.
"My ex-partner and I wanted to have a baby," Schreiner said in a written statement to the department in January 2012, also included in the department's latest filing. "We were a gay couple so we had a sperm donor."
In October, the department filed a court petition against Marotta, asking that he be required to reimburse the state for the benefits and make future child support payments. Marotta is asking that the case be dismissed, arguing that he's not legally the child's father, only a sperm donor. A hearing is set for Tuesday.