Craigslist sperm donor forced to pay child support to lesbian couple – despite giving up parental rights to the baby BEFORE she was born
- Angela Bauer, 40, and partner Jennifer Schreiner, 34, placed ad in 2009
- Donor William Marotta relinquished financial responsibility for child
- Kansas state ordered Mr Marotta to pay after lesbian couple applied
PUBLISHED: 14:14 GMT, 31 December 2012 | UPDATED: 13:03 GMT, 3 January 2013
Angela Bauer, 40, and partner Jennifer Schreiner, 34, placed an ad on the site three years ago for a donor which was answered by William Marotta.
‘We are foster and adoptive parents and now we desire to share a pregnancy and birth together,’ Bauer wrote in the online posting.
Mr Marotta provided sperm which was used for artificial insemination by Ms Schreiner. In return, he gave up parental rights including financial duties for the child.
The three signed a legal document which stated Mr Marotta, a married mechanic who fosters children with his wife, would have no rights to the child.
Bauer and Schreiner updated Marotta on their daughter’s well-being occasionally but he has had little contact, according to the Kansas City Star.
The arrangement changed earlier this year when Ms Schreiner, the only parent registered on her daughter’s birth certificate, applied for social welfare.
Ms Bauer had been supporting the child but was left unable to work due to ill health.
On October 3, 2012, attorney Mark McMillan filed a petition on behalf of the Department of Children and Families seeking a ruling that Marotta is the father of Schreiner’s child and owes a duty to support her.
It said the department provided cash assistance totaling $189 for the girl for July through September 2012, and had paid medical expenses totaling nearly $6,000.
Schreiner had allegedly been put under pressure to reveal Mr Marotta’s name so that her daughter could continue to have health care.
The legal agreement that the three made in 2009 was deemed invalid by Kansas state because they did not use a certified doctor for the insemination.
THE DOT.COM WAY TO MAKE A BABY: RISE OF ONLINE SPERM DONORS
It may appear unconventional but searching for sperm donors on Craigslist is not unheard of.
In 2010, the popular cafemom blog lit up in outrage after a man from Beaverton, Oregon advertised his sperm donor services on Craigslist. He wrote: ‘I’m ready to help. We’d be very discreet, no one needs to know.’
Another ad for a potential donor in San Diego read: ‘I’m not offering thrilling risky sex, just pregnancy.’
Craigslist requires that users agree to guidelines when posting ads for services.
However the site ‘does not control, is not responsible for and makes no representations or warranties with respect to any user content… You must conduct any necessary, appropriate, prudent or judicious investigation, inquiry, research and due diligence with respect to any user content’.
Among the long list of banned items on Craigslist are illegal goods; offensive material including porn and anything deemed malicious or fraudulent. There is no mention of sperm donors.
Ms Bauer and Ms Schreiner, who separated in 2010, plan to help Mr Marotta fight the state’s decision, saying they are ‘forever grateful’ for the child he gave their family.
Ms Bauer, from Topeka, told cjonline.com this week: ‘We’re kind of at a loss. We are going to support him in whatever action he wants to go forward with.’
Hannah Schroller, Mr Marotta’s attorney, argued that the case was consistent with a 2007 case in which the Kansas Supreme Court denied parental rights to a man who sought them after providing a sperm donation under similar circumstances.
A licensed physician performed the insemination in the 2007 case.
Schroller wrote that Marotta took the same actions as the man in the 2007 case did, and he – like that man – should be considered a sperm donor, not a father.
She stressed that sperm banks regularly ship donations for the intended purpose of artificial insemination within the United States and abroad to both residential and medical facility addresses.
Schroller argued in court documents that if a donor is free of parental responsibility only when a doctor performs an insemination, ‘then any woman in Kansas could have sperm donations shipped to her house, inseminate herself without a licensed physician and seek out the donor for financial support because her actions made him a father, not a sperm donor.
‘This goes against the very purpose of the statute to protect sperm donors as well as birth mothers’.
Ms Bauer and Ms Schreiner had been together for eight years and adopted eight children. They ended their relationship in 2010 but continue to co-parent their sons and daughters who range from three months to 25 years old.
The state of Kansas does not recognize same-sex unions, so each of their children was registered for adoption by a single parent.
A motion to dismiss the state’s case will be heard in Shawnee County District Court on January 8.
Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Department for Children and Families, said that Kansas law prevented her from commenting on the case.