Friday, October 28, 2016

Financial Responsibility for Children Conceived with Donor Sperm.

A Canadian woman is suing for financial support for two children conceived with the sperm of a man with whom she was friendly in medical school.  The adults are now both physicians, and the children are now in their teens.

The man says now that he would have never donated sperm had there been an expectation of financial responsibility for the children on his part. A 2002 document indicates that the woman would not seek financial support from the man.  The man has, however, over the years been involved in the children's lives, sponsored travel, contributed to a college savings fund, and introduced the children to his own parents, and referred to himself as the children's dad.

A peculiarity of Ontario law seems to allow financial suits of this kind based on the biological contribution alone, as against any stated intent.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Massachusetts Extends Parental Rights to Same-Sex Partners, Even after Relationships End

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has given a woman permission to seek parental rights to a child conceived and gestated by her former female partner.  The two women had been in a 13-year relationship but had not married. One of them conceived two children through insemination.  When the couple eventually broke up, the gestating mother asserted that she alone was entitled to parental rights.

In making its decision, the Court relied on a state law that gives unmarried biological fathers the right to prove that he is “the presumed parent.” The Court declared that this law must be interpreted in a gender-neutral way and -- in the case of same-sex couples -- without having to demonstrate “biological ties” to the children produced in a relationship.  The Court said: “Nothing in the language of [the state law] expressly limits its applicability to parentage claims based on asserted biological ties.’’

The Court also indicated that its logic would also apply to two men who rely on a surrogate to produce a child father by only one of the men. 

This court decision does not automatically grant parental rights to this particular woman, but it does entitle her  (and others in her situation) to try and convince a court that she  should  be recognized a parent, no matter the lack of a biological -- either genetic or gestational -- relationship to the child.

Source:  John R. Ellement, The state’s highest court just made a major ruling on parental rights, The Boston Globe, Oct. 4, 2016.  At: