When is a Sperm Donor More Than a Sperm Donor?

The Kansas Supreme Court is about to decide that question in the following case.

A woman was artificially inseminated by an old platonic friend. She became pregnant with twins.

During the months leading up to the birth of her twins, she more or less “dropped” the old friend who had donated his sperm to her. He only found out that she had given birth because of a mutual friend.

Now the twins are 18 months old. They’ve never met their mother’s old friend who had made their birth possible.

But he alleges that the mother and he had verbally agreed that he would co-parent the twins as their father. The mother denies that.

Now, a Kansas statute states that a sperm donor has no parental rights unless the mother and the sperm donor agree otherwise in writing.

No one contends that there was an actual written contract here.

Case closed? Not so fast.

The sperm donor argues that the statute is unconstitutional and not in the best interests of the children conceived.

Meanwhile, the mother filed a petition to terminate the sperm donor’s parental rights – the rights she simultaneously denies the sperm donor had – for unfitness as a parent.

The sperm donor contends that the mother’s petition to terminate parental rights constitutes a sufficient writing under the statute – the statute he argues is unconstitutional.

The sperm donor further muddies the waters by suggesting that the mother, who happens to be an attorney, incorrectly advised him as his counsel that no written agreement was necessary to protect his rights.

At the same time, the sperm donor filed a paternity action to establish the legal father of the children.

The trial court dismissed the sperm donor’s paternity case and the mother’s petition to terminate parental rights, in both cases, because the sperm donor had no parental rights.

The sperm donor appealed.

This is yet another complex, even convoluted real life case that would make a great law school exam.

Except for the fact that only one outcome seems even remotelypracticable: a sperm donor is nothing more than … a sperm donor.

Read more in these Topeka Capital Journal articles: Dispute between friends leads to review of sperm donor rights and Court weighs parental rights.