Skip to comments.Sperm donor loses appeal on child support
Posted on 08/23/2005 4:33:44 AM PDT by grundle
Sperm donor loses appeal on child support
The Patriot News, Friday, July 23, 2004, BY REGGIE SHEFFIELD of The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA, U.S.A.
The state Superior Court yesterday ruled that a man must pay child support to a woman who conceived twin boys with his sperm through in vitro fertilization.
The opinion upholds a Dauphin County Court order filed in 2002.
Joel L. McKiernan now must pay up to $1,500 each month, but he argued that an oral agreement he had with Ivonne V. Ferguson protected him from any payments, according to court papers.
When McKiernan agreed to be a sperm donor for Ferguson -- a co-worker with whom he had had an affair between 1991 and 1993 -- she promised she would never seek support payments from him, court documents said. But in 1999, she began seeking support.
Superior Court Judge Patrick R. Tamilia wrote that the oral contract between McKiernan and Ferguson is essentially worthless, because the rights for child support belong to the twins, not to either parent.
"The oral agreement between the parties that [McKiernan] would donate his sperm in exchange for being released from any obligation for any child conceived, on its face, constitutes a valid contract," Tamilia wrote in a six-page decision.
"Based on legal, equitable and moral principles, however, it is not enforceable," Tamilia wrote.
Efforts to reach Ferguson and McKiernan were unsuccessful.
According to the court papers, Ferguson persuaded McKiernan to donate his sperm for in vitro fertilization in 1993, when their relationship waned. Ferguson was married, but her husband filed for divorce on the day she underwent the IVF procedure, court papers said.
On Aug. 25, 1994, Ferguson gave birth to the twins. She listed her ex-husband, not McKiernan, as the biological father on the birth certificate, according to court papers.
McKiernan had little contact with Ferguson during this time, other than visiting her in the hospital when she was in labor and spending an afternoon with her and the boys two years later, court documents said.
Elizabeth Stone, a family law attorney, said that Pennsylvania law very clearly holds that the right to child support belongs to the children and not the parents.
"Even though the child is a minor, he cannot in any way extend that right to the parent," Stone said. "So even a contract can be immediately invalidated by running to the court and filing for support."
With in vitro fertilization, a sperm cell and egg cell are combined outside the woman's body, and the resulting embryo is placed in her uterus. About 1 million children have been conceived through in vitro fertilization, which was first done in 1978.
The issue of child support and in vitro fertilization has found its way into court in other jurisdictions.
Copyright 2004 The Patriot-News
Well good. Reproduction entails responsibility. All this technology cracking open the commitment enshrined in marriage and replacing it with fast-food fertility is wicked.
But if they had had an oral agreement that if she should become pregnant, he would take care of the child, no abortion, yet she went ahead and killed said child, dad would be SOL.
So the only person that hasn't really suffered in this case is the woman who put the ball in motion. Unreal.
You're ultimately responsible for where you send your boys.
So, let me see if I understand.
If a woman goes to a fertility clinic and is fertilized by ostensibly anonymous sperm, if she finds out who the donor is she can go after him for child support?
This doesn't make any legal sense.
Yet another wrong ruling from our court system.
The only real question is can she collect from both the sperm donor and the "birth certificate father"?
I'd bet the poor guy has been paying child support all along.
Apparently not for the woman in making a reproduction contract. After all, its her rather than the kids that is now trying to break it.
I think this is absurd. Using the same logic, every sperm bank donor would be responsible for some unknown number of children. Maybe the kids could get together and sue for reparations:^)
Time for Daddy to bend over for the in-vitro Nazi, open his wallet, and make the socialist state real happy.
Ah, the new generation welfare mom...have a doctor impregnate you with someone's sperm, find out who the donor was and shabaam! instant welfare. Not to mention, government enforced welfare - because uncle sammy will take his income, his tax refunds, his property all in the name of the children - when in fact the child sees little if any of the money!
Gotta love our judicial tyrants!
Would you expect it to? Remember, judges are allowed to make up law as they go along. It's very "Alice in Wonderland".
On another note, any man that donates sperm in any fashion is a fool.
Those are not the facts in this case. In this case, the mother and father were involved in a multi-year sexual affair, and he donated his sperm for IVF as part of that relationship. If this woman had become pregnant in the natural way, nobody would be questioning this ruling.
The best way to look at this case is that the use of the IVF procedure was irrelevent. This child was concieved as part of a long-term romantic relationship between two people. There are a lot of child custody cases out there where the relationship is much more casual than this.
The only smart guy in this whole story is the ex-husband. Getting the divorce on the same day as the IVF treatment was a smart move, otherwise there would be a presumption that the resulting child was his, and he would be on the hook!
This ruling might have a chilling effect on those who flash freeze The Boys for use by other parties.
Terri Schivo only had an oral agreement to have the plug pulled (if we can trust what her husband said).
More judicial activism. The law is a ass.
Dr. Laura supports a non-birth father continuing child support payments even after he realizes it isn't his kid. "Well you can't just abandon the child." In the courts view, that man has no legal rights to visit the child, he should not be forced into paying for what is not his blood or physicial/legal responsibility.
I think there actually was a case like that. It's a weird world: In Sweden, apparently, a sperm donor was order to pay child support after a lesbian couple using the sperm, dissolved relationship after 10 yrs. Noteworthy since SCOTUS is looking to foreign courts rather than USA for guidance.
Back here in the States, a 14 yr old male, who was used by a 21 yr old married female, was required to pay child support even though he could not legally consent and claimed he did not. Paternity was discovered when she broke up with her husband years later.
Other cases like the PA case have happened as well.
Men's reproductive rights simply don't exist in a postmodern feminist's utopia.
Aside from this issue, men could be removed from the entire reproductive process.
Not a pleasant thought. :(
Maybe I misread the story, but thats not what I understand to be the basis of the ruling. The judges simply said that the fathers obligation was to the child, not the mother. So I dont see how (using the judges reasoning) this kind of a side deal during a relationship would be more vulnerable to such an obligation to the child than an anonymous sperm donor.
I understand how the court might not want to let the mother be pressured to sell out a childs financial support rights to a father whos pressing for sex without obligation, but thats not what this is, and I think the judge is misapplying that protection. The father apparently had no personal interest in the events leading to the childs conception.
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