Sperm Donor Parental Status in California

Posted December 17, 2010 in Family Law by Julia Lemon.

As artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization technology continues to rapidly develop, California law has been struggling to keep up with the times.  Specifically, it is becoming increasingly important to protect the rights of mothers who conceive using donor sperm.

To date, the California Family Code has partially addressed this issue.  The Family Code provides that a donor who has provided semen to a sperm bank, or to a licensed physician for insemination of a woman, is treated by the law as if he were not the natural father of the child conceived as a result.  A recent news story illustrates the importance of the continued development of family law in relation to sperm and egg donation and usage.

Karen B., a writer in Los Angeles, California was looking for a sperm donor to help her start her family.  She met the man who would become her sperm donor, Daniel C., on Craiglist after first seeking a donor among her group of close friends.  Initially, they agreed that she would retain custody and would make all the parenting decisions while the donor would have visitation privileges.  However, after Karen already became pregnant, Daniel began forcing himself into Karen’s life and sought custody rights.  The court ruled in favor of Karen’s parental rights, but granted Daniel with twice monthly visitation privileges.  However, because of this informal arrangement, Karen lives in fear that Daniel might someday abduct the child to his native Brazil.  For the full article see ABC news.

As this particular story illustrates, it is important that California family law continue to develop to protect the parental status, custody, and visitation rights of parents and donors who enter into agreements to conceive a child.  In addition, it is of utmost importance that the law continues to expand to serve the primary function of ensuring the safety, stability, and mental health of the child.

For more information about sperm donor rights, please contact us.  Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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