Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”
In a viral story out of the UK, a 26-year-old sperm donor has used Facebook to father 10 children from nine different women. In 2014, Kenzie Kilpatrick created a Facebook page offering sperm donations to women wanting to have a baby. So far, his donations have yielded seven children, with three more due within the next month.
The number of sperm donations initiated through social media appears to be growing. According to Allen Murdoch, a sperm donor located here in the U.S., the main rationale behind using Facebook is that you get to converse with the other party and get a sense for what type of personality the other party has.
When Kilpatrick made the decision to become a sperm donor, he chose to forego using a sperm bank or fertility center. Citing the high fees involved, Kilpatrick says “A child shouldn’t have a price, nor should happiness.”
Professor Adam Balen, Chairman of the British Fertility Society, strongly objects to Kilpatrick’s method of donating sperm. According to Balen, donating sperm without medical assistance is “very dangerous, as sperm can carry all sorts of sexually transmitted infections” that could harm both the mother and child. Professor Allan Pacey, chair of the 2008 committee that produced the UK’s sperm and egg donor screening guidelines, echoed Balen’s sentiments. “Screening of donors needs professional input. With regard to the screening for blood borne viruses (such as HIV) there is a need to quarantine the sperm for six months so [the medical professionals] can be assured that the donor is not in the process of seroconversion (where the test shows negative but [the donor] is actually positive). With a ‘fresh donation’ this is not possible and so there are real risks.”
Dr. Jamie Grifo, program director at the NYU Langone Fertility Center, says that U.S. sperm banks have regulations in place that mandate each sperm sample be tested not only for HIV, hepatitis, and other STD’s, but also for recessive genes that might lead to a child being born with conditions such as cystic fibrosis.
In addition to the health concerns that arise from social media sperm donations, there is also the potential for legal complications. Going through a sperm bank or fertility center permits donors to remain anonymous, thus shielding them from ever having to provide child support. However, for donors choosing to hand over their sperm after a conversation on social media, the law is less clear.
Just last year, a Kansas court ruled that a sperm donor must pay child support despite the fact that the donor had signed documents waiving his parental rights. In 2009, Kansas resident William Marotta answered a lesbian couple’s Craigslist ad seeking a sperm donor. Using Marotta’s donation, the couple had a baby girl via artificial insemination. When the couple ended their relationship, the State filed a petition for child support against Marotta, even though Marotta had signed a contract relinquishing all rights to the child. Kansas law requires a licensed physician be involved in the insemination process, and since Marotta handed over the sperm without involving a physician, he was held financially liable for the child as the child’s father.
The aforementioned health and legal concerns strongly support the use of medical professionals in the sperm donation process, at least until North Carolina further addresses the issue.
If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.
About the Author
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.
Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.
A certified Family-Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state and administrative courts in North Carolina, before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.
In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.
By Klaus Hoffmeier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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