Getting Hit at the Sperm Pump


Are five parents better than two? Maybe, if you can hit up all of them for child support:

A man who donated sperm for a lesbian couple's two children must pay support, the state Superior Court ordered in a ruling that legal experts are calling a precedent.

In reaching the decision, the three-judge panel said that since Carl L. Frampton Jr., who died while the case was pending, had involved himself as a stepparent, he assumed some of the parenting duties.

Lori Andrews, a Chicago-Kent College of Law professor with expertise in reproductive technology, said as many as five people could claim some parental status toward a single child if its conception involved a surrogate mother, an egg donor and a sperm donor.

Sadly for some, the ruling does not spell doom for the sperm and ova markets. The unfortunate sperm source demonstrated "parental involvement far beyond merely biological" by offering the kid cash, toys, and attention, a factor that seems to have been crucial to the decision. Two-thirds of states (but not Pennsylvania) already have laws protecting donors from this sort of thing.

Still, the ruling creates an incentive for donors to stay far, far away from their biological children. 

Last year, I argued against the end of anonymity for sperm donors.