Can an Illinois sperm donor be required to pay child support?

Many Illinois residents may not be aware of an Illinois law that requires a sperm donor to pay child support unless he donates his sperm through proper medical channels involving a doctor. Although this particular case did not arise in Illinois, our state has similar laws that could result in this happening here. The case begins in 2009 with a man who answered an online advertisement submitted by a same-sex couple requesting a sperm donor.

He and the two women made an agreement and he signed that agreement that waived all of his parental rights and financial obligations to the child. Apparently the child’s biological mother has received public assistance on behalf of the child and now the state of Kansas wants the sperm donor to be responsible for that public assistance totaling $6,000. Because no doctors were used for the artificial insemination that resulted in her pregnancy – as required by state law – he could be required to pay child support.

Ten other states, including Illinois, have similar laws. According to a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Children and Families, department staff members routinely determine a child’s paternity in an effort to locate the father and enforce his child support obligations in an effort to reduce the costs to taxpayers in such matters. The agreement signed between the couple and the sperm donor is not valid, said the department, according to documents sent to the court.

The couple eventually broke up and the biological mother requested public assistance for the child. Apparently the couple had the sperm donor drop off containers with his donations directly to their home and used their own syringes eventually resulting in a successful pregnancy. The agreement signed between the women and the donor states the child’s birth certificate will not list a father and the donor will be held harmless financially.

The man is asking the court to dismiss the case stating he is merely a sperm donor, not the child’s legal father. His hearing is set for next week.

Source: Foster’s Daily Democrat, “State trying to make sperm donor pay child support,” John Hanna, Jan. 9, 2013