TOPEKA, Kan. — A Kansas judge has now ruled that a Topeka man who donated sperm so two women could have a baby together isn’t legally the child’s father and doesn’t have to provide financial support.
The state Department for Children and Families had not decided as of Tuesday whether it would appeal last week’s ruling by Shawnee County District Judge Mary Mattivi. The department sought to force William Marotta to pay child support for the girl born in December 2009.
In 2009, Marotta and his wife answered a Craigslist ad by Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner.
The women later separated. Kansas law says a donor providing sperm to a doctor for insemination isn’t legally a father, but the two women didn’t use a physician.
In January 2014, the same judge ruled that because William Morotta did not use a doctor to provide the sperm, he is not an official sperm donor and is responsible for the monthly child support payments.
“They were a couple. They couldn’t have children by themselves. It’s something I could help with,” Marotta told FOX 4 in 2013.
Now Judge Mattivi has ruled that the woman who didn’t give birth is the girl’s second parent.
Marotta says he didn’t receive any payment and consented to a written agreement signing away any parental rights long before the little girl was born.
“They very much wanted something in place that said okay, you’re doing this for us but you don’t have any claim to this child,” he said in January 2013.
But in October 2012, Marotta says the Kansas Department for Children and Family Services informed him he was being ordered to cough up the less than 200 dollars a month the state had been paying.
Marotta said he was shocked.
“At which point I’m going, wow, no good deed goes unpunished,” he said.
Marotta says the couple had split up and the birth mother, Jennifer, filed for social welfare.
“Jennifer was pressured, coerced in essence to give my name,” he told FOX 4 in our original report.
In court documents, the state argued that because the insemination was not performed by a licensed doctor, the sperm donor contract was null and void.
Marotta told FOX 4 he believed the state’s argument was at least partially politically motivated.
“I think if this was a lesbian couple in southern California I don’t think it would even be an issue right now,” he said in 2013.
Marotta says the child’s mothers fully support him and have told the state they are the ones who should be held responsible.
In January 2013, when FOX 4 spoke to Marotta, he was concerned about the lengthy legal battle ahead. He said he had already spent more than ten percent of his yearly salary on legal fees. A legal defense fund was established to pay for legal fees. Marotta said any remaining funds not used in his defense would be given to other sperm donors in need of legal help.