Judge declares him 'presumptive father' of girl born to lesbian couple.
A Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple said Thursday he would appeal a judge's ruling that he is the "presumptive father" of the mother's 4-year-old daughter, which makes him potentially liable for child support.
In her ruling Wednesday, Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi decided that William Marotta, of Topeka, did not qualify for sperm-donor protection under Kansas law because a licensed physician did not perform the artificial insemination.
Marotta, who answered the couple's ad on Craigslist, argues he signed a contract that waived his parental rights and responsibilities. The Kansas Department for Children and Families claims he's a father who owes back and future child support. The agency has paid the mother, Jennifer Schreiner, about $6,000 in public assistance.
Marotta said in an interview Thursday with the Capital-Journal that he was "almost" ready to go to jail rather than pay support if ordered, although the state could garnishee his wages.
He said the sperm-donation agreement he signed with Schreiner and her partner stipulated that he would not have a relationship with the girl, who was born in 2009.
But Mattivi ruled that she "may not look the other way simply because the parties intended a different result than that afforded by the statute."
"Kansas law is clear 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 of a child thereby conceived, unless agreed to in writing by the donor and the woman,' " Mattivi wrote.
"In this case, quite simply, the parties failed to conform to the statutory requirements of the Kansas Parentage Act in not enlisting a licensed physician at some point in the artificial insemination process, and the parties' self-designation of (Marotta) as a sperm donor is insufficient to relieve (Marotta) of parental rights and responsibilities."
Still to be litigated is whether Marotta must pay child support, writes the Capital-Journal, citing an e-mail exchange with a court administrator.