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State trying to make sperm donor pay child support

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 2, 2013 at 9:52 pm •  Published: January 2, 2013
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Marotta told The Topeka-Capital Journal that he is "a little scared about where this is going to go, primarily for financial reasons."

His attorney didn't immediately return a phone message Wednesday from The Associated Press, and there was no listing for his home phone number in Topeka. Listings for Schreiner and Bauer were either incorrect or out of service, and Schreiner did not respond to a message sent by Facebook.

The agreement signed by Marotta, Schreiner and Bauer in March 2009, said the women "hold him harmless" financially. The agreement also said the child's birth certificate would not list a father.

Under a 1994 Kansas law, a sperm donor isn't considered the father only when a donor provides sperm to a licensed physician for artificial insemination of a woman who isn't the donor's wife. The result is an incentive for donors and prospective mothers to work with a doctor, de Rocha said.

"I believe that is the intent of the law, so that we don't end up with these ambiguous situations," she told the AP.

Also, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October 2007 that a sperm donor who works through a licensed physician can't legally be considered a child's father — and doesn't have the right to visit the child or have a role in its upbringing — absent a formal, written agreement. But the case involved a sperm donor who was seeking access to a child but had only an informal, unwritten agreement with the child's mother.

Linda Elrod, a law professor and director of Washburn University's Children and Family Law program, said the law seems clear: Sperm donors who don't want to be held liable for child support need to work with a doctor.

"Other than that, the general rule is strict liability for sperm," said Elrod, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court case.

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Follow John Hanna on Twitter at www.twitter.com/apjdhanna