Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Q toon: Surrender, Dorothy

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
÷Jan 9, 2013
This week's cartoon concerns a case in Kansas involving a lesbian couple who advertised on Craigslist for a sperm donor so that they could conceive a child in 2009. William Marotta responded to the ad posted by Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer.
The [sperm] donation was given under a written agreement that Marotta would not have parental rights and so not be considered the father of the child or liable for child support. However, when Schreiner and Bauer ran into money difficulties in 2012 an application for child support was made to the Department of Children and Families (DFC)...
In the state of Kansas when a child support claim is filed, the DFC is legally bound to find the biological father and petition him to pay. Kansas state is therefore seeking to have Marotta declared the father of the child and made financially responsible for her welfare, irrespective of the previous contract made between Marotta, Schreiner and Bauer.
Part of the problem legally is that Schreiner and Bauer's daughter was conceived at their home, rather than with a medical doctor acting as middle man.
The Topeka couple initially tried to obtain a specimen from a cryobank in Chicago, Bauer said, but ran into trouble with their family practitioner. The doctor refused to sign a release stating the couple capable of raising a child, she said. ... 
The women decided to inseminate Schreiner at their home, Bauer said, partly because of their previous awkward encounter with the doctor, but primarily because they wanted the act to be more personal.
The couple had no idea home insemination would have any bearings on parenting rights of the child, Bauer said.
Apparently, there is legal precedent that had a medical practitioner inseminated Ms. Schreiner via artificial insemination methods, Mr. Marotta would not be financially responsible for the resulting child -- at least in the state of California (even if they had had sexual relations before!).
In Steven S. v. Deborah D. (2005), a California appellate court held that the sperm provider was a donor with no parental status because the child was conceived by artificial insemination performed by a physician.  The donor argued that he and the mother had attempted to conceive by sexual intercourse prior to this insemination and that the mother acknowledged him and the father and allowed him to celebrate the child’s birth.  Nonetheless, the court concluded that the statute was clear and provision of the semen to a physician extinguished his potential rights as a father.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to conceive!

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