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Paternity and Insemination: Are You Liable?

In most states in the United States, if you are the biological father of a child, you may be held liable for child support, should you and the biological mother split up. Yet, on the other hand, if you can prove that you are not the biological father of the child, you are typically “let off the hook” for the child support payments. Yet, recently in Germany, a man, who agreed to his then-girlfriend being artificially inseminated by a sperm donor, was ordered to make child support payments after they went their separate ways. If there is no proof of biological paternity, then could you be responsible to make child support payments?

The Full Story

Attempting to explain German law is outside of the scope of this blog and also potentially would not be beneficial as a defense here in the United States, however, the story does bring some insight as to the verdict. The man who was the defendant, in this case, had been dating this woman for several years. She wanted to have a child, but he was unable to fulfill that dream, so she wanted to partake in artificial insemination. As the boyfriend, he consented to the first attempt and even found a donor he approved of. He even went so far as to write on the emergency paperwork that should something happen and a child be conceived that he consented to all consequences and to an eventual pregnancy and also assumed liability. Because of this document, according to laws in Germany, he was under a contractual obligation to make payments to the child conceived, even though three attempts were made before the insemination was successful and at that point, the defendant did not claim the child.

In the United States

Here in the United States, we have another story that relates to artificial insemination. A man in Kansas came across an ad for a lesbian couple who wanted to have a child and were looking for a donor. He responded to the ad and claims that he dropped off a few cupfuls of genetic material and signed papers waiving parental rights. He was the donor, and that was it. Yet, years later, that couple has split and the woman with custody is seeking payments from him as the donor. Reportedly without his knowledge, the insemination occurred at the home without a doctor, and because it was not done in a medical facility by a licensed professional, there is no proof that they were not indeed lovers and he may be responsible for those payments after all.

What Do the Laws Say?

With the miracles of modern science advancing beyond what many have previously only dreamed of, the laws often are found needing to catch up. However, the Illinois Parentage Act of 2013 sought to include the scope of artificial insemination. This act says:

“Illinois recognizes the right of every child to the physical, mental, emotional, and financial support of his or her parents. The parent-child relationship, including support obligations, extends equally to every child and to every parent, regardless of the legal relationship of the parents, and regardless of whether a parent is a minor.”

Fathers that are included under this act are:

  • Acknowledged Father – One who has established a parent-child relationship,
  • Adjudicated Father – Father that was deemed so by the court,
  • Alleged Father – Any father who claims to be or is claimed to be the biological or potential biological father,
  • Assisted Reproduction – Any father that became so during a relationship and used means other than sexual intercourse for implantation.

Fathers not considered under the act are:

  • A man whose paternal rights have been terminated or declared not to exist, or
  • Male sperm donor.

If you are considering establishing parentage or are having difficulty with a parentage issue involving insemination, it will benefit you to contact a skilled attorney. An internet search will likely come back with a variety of answers on this topic. The only way to get up to date and valid legal advice is to contact a lawyer directly. At Keller Legal Services, P.C., we have more than 25 years of experience in assisting clients and take pride in our ability to resolve even the most difficult of situations. If you are looking for a Wheaton family law attorney, contact our office today at 630-868-3093 for your free initial consultation.