A story out of Topeka has all the makings of a modern farce, including the redoubtable craigslist, an improbable landmark legal battle, and a man who is able to deliver his own sperm by the quart (h/t Jazz Shaw, Hot Air).
If you’re planning to donate sperm in Kansas, you may want to do it through a doctor.
That’s one message from the case of William Marotta of Topeka. In 2009, he noticed a Craig’s List advertisement from a lesbian couple, also in Topeka, seeking donated sperm.
‘Intrigued’ by the ad, he agreed to donate and says he delivered three cupfuls (!) of his sperm — gratis — to the women, one of whom gave birth to a daughter. [Emphasis added]
All lived happily ever after until the couple split (irreconcilable differences) and the biological mother, who retained custody of the child (now 3), became unable to work because of illness. So she contacted the state for help — and they in turn contacted Marotta, the child’s … er — “father.”
That’s how he is viewed under Kansas law. The state Department for Children and Families, which is seeking $6,000 in reimbursements, cites a Kansas statute that assigns paternity to a sperm donor in cases where his donation was not inseminated under a doctor’s supervision. The two parents-to-be in this case, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, handled the transfer of genetic material themselves, using a syringe.
The case, which is headed to court this coming Tuesday, turns on whether the statute supersedes an agreement signed by the two parties prior to the sperm donation that waives Marotta’s financial responsibility.
But the case would appear to have broader implications in the battle over “reproductive rights.” If, as Roe v. Wade holds, fetuses are not human beings until they reach viability, how can a contributor of genetic material — which is several stages earlier in the procreative process — be called a parent?
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