For men who make the decision to donate sperm in order to help couples who cannot conceive a child, many likely don't think that they will ever be hit with a bill for child support. But one story unfolding in a state neighboring Colorado underscores the dangers of people who try to do these procedures on their own without going through the official channels.
The case arose when a man answered a lesbian couple's online classified ad seeking a sperm donor. The two women and the donor all signed an agreement in which the man waived his parental rights. However, when the couple separated and the mother needed government benefits to get by, the state where the people live in came after the donor to help cover costs, hitting the man with a $6,000 child support bill.
The state wants the man to continue paying child support, and not just the amount of "back" support that he supposedly owes. According to the state, the man is still the father of the child because the agreement the three people signed was not valid. The state asserts that the parties needed to get attorneys and doctors involved to make the process official. The women used a home-based insemination kit that does not require a doctor.
Many states' laws are antiquated when it comes to sperm and egg donors and their rights and obligations as "parents." The case could end up going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could give many states clarity as to what happens in regards to donors.
For now, though, it appears that it may be best to go through the official channels if a donor does not want to end up being punished for doing a good deed.
Source: Washington Times, "Who's your daddy? Sperm donors, paternity, child support and the law," Myra Fleischer, Jan. 17, 2013