Sperm donor speaks about judge’s child support ruling

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TOPEKA, Kan. -- A Topeka man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple so they could have a child has been told by a Shawnee County district judge he is legally the father and must now pay child support.

What it boils down to, according to the judge's ruling, is the simple fact that William Marotta and the lesbian couple he donated his sperm to did not use a licensed doctor to perform the artificial insemination.

The judge's ruling says Kansas law clearly states that a donor of semen provided to a licensed physician for use in artificial insemination of a woman other than the donor's wife, is treated in law as if he were not the birth father.

But in this case, Marotta provided the semen directly to the birth mother and her partner.

"I had no idea whether they were using a physician or not. But like the other two parties, Angela and Jennifer, when we sat down and interviewed each other and signed that contract, we all thought this would take care of any possibilities like what's happening now," Marotta said.

Kansas law follows the Uniform Parentage Act, which came into existence in 1973.
While other states have adopted a more modernized version of the Act that includes all forms of artificial insemination, whether a doctor is used or not, Kansas has not. Therefore, Marotta could be on the hook for child support until the girl turns 18.

"They're still wrong. I'm not a father. I'm not a parent. I'm not involved with the family. I was a donor," Marotta said.

Marotta's attorney, Ben Swinnen, says the ruling is surprising because a paternity test has never been done. He calls the decision factually baseless, and says the court never even addressed the argument that the contract drawn up is valid.

"The state decided to prosecute this case and I believe that there was a political agenda in the prosecution of this case," Swinnen said.

Both Swinnen and Marotta say naming the donor as the father also takes away the rights of the two women who continue to raise the child, desperately, but as their own.

Marotta is ordered to pay no less than $200 a month in child support. He says he will not pay until the appeal process is complete.

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