Child Support Obligations of Sperm Donors

From The Volokh Conspiracy comes this post on Ferguson v. McKiernan, 2007 WL 4555436, Pa., December 27, 2007 (available here in PDF).

A man (McKiernan) agrees to provide sperm to an unmarried woman (Ferguson) who wishes to become a single parent but wants to use the sperm of someone she knows rather than an anonymous donor. The man agrees not to seek custody or visitation of the child, and the woman agrees not to seek child support. The woman’s eggs are then fertilized in vitro with the man’s sperm, and resulting embryos are implanted in the woman’s womb for gestation. Five years after giving birth to twins, the woman demands child support payments from the man. The trial court ruled that the contract is unenforceable because parents normally are not permitted to waive child support requirements. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, fearing that no man in his right mind would ever be sperm donor if that ruling is upheld, reversed and freed the man of monthly support obligations.

Russell Korobkin continues, discussing the logic of the majority: “that if the “known” sperm donor is held responsible for caring for his “children,” there is no reason why the logic wouldn’t require the same of anonymous sperm bank donors.”

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