Surrogate father may have to pay up, if Kansas has its way
In 2009 Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, a lesbian couple, wanted to have have baby. The couple decided to place an ad on Craigslist, in hopes of finding a donor.
William Marotta answered the ad and after lots of talking, a contract stating he was not responsible for the child, and the actual donation the Schreiner got pregnant and had a baby girl.
By 2010, the lesbian couple broke up, Bauer continued to provide support for the child, when illness reduced her income, Schreiner was forced to turn to the state of Kansas for financial assistance through the Kansas Department of Children and Families.
Kansas does not recognize same-sex relationships, so when Schreiner applied for assistance she named herself as a single mother. The state of Kansas would not move forward with her application unless Schreiner named the father of her daughter so she ultimately named Marotta. On October 3rd the Department of Children and Families filed a claim against Marotta, charging that as the biological father he was required to provide for Bauer’s child.
According to ABC News, the Kansas filing “said that the state had spent $189 on the baby from July 2012 to September 2012 and nearly $6,000 in medical assistance, which Marotta had a duty to pay.”
Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the the Department of Children and Families (DCF), explained,
Speaking generally, all individuals who apply for taxpayer-funded benefits through DCF are asked to cooperate with child support enforcement efforts. If a sperm donor makes his “contribution” through a licensed physician and a child is conceived, the donor is held harmless under state statue. In cases where the parties do not go through a physician or a clinic, there remains the question of who actually is the father of a child or children. DCF is required by statute to establish paternity and then pursue child support from the noncustodial parent.
In a legal appeal of the state’s case against Marotta, Swinnen wrote that if, as the Department of Children and Families charged, “the use of a licensed physician is a primary requirement…then any woman in Kansas could have sperm donations shipped to her house, inseminate herself without a licensed physician and seek out the donor for financial support because her actions made him a father, not a sperm donor. This goes against the very purpose of the statute to protect sperm donors as well as birth mothers.”