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Los Angeles Family Law Specialists

Steve Fernandez and Mark Karney are Certified Family Law Specialists* with over 50 years of combined experience.

If you or your loved one are discussing sperm donation, you may be wondering about the rights and responsibilities associated with being a sperm donor. One responsibility of parenthood in California is child support. Does this apply to sperm donation? If so, in what situations?

Privately Arranged Sperm Donation

There are numerous circumstances under which men donate their sperm. They may do so through a clinical setting, or a non-clinical environment to a friend, or by a contractual obligation with strangers. When men participate in these arrangements, they typically relinquish their parental rights to any child born from their sperm.

However, men who donate sperm through privately arranged sperm donations may have a legal right to a child conceived through their donation. This means this could potentially sue the mother for child custody and visitation. In turn, the mother could sue for child support.

Since most states use genetics to determine legal parentage, the sperm donor of a child conceived through intercourse is likely to be considered the parent by the court if no other father claims the child. Therefore, the donor would be afforded parental rights and be obligated to pay child support.

Sperm Donation in Licensed Clinical Settings

Sperm donors who contract sperm donation through a licensed physician’s office or clinic are protected from parental responsibility for children born from their sperm under Section 7613 of the California Family Code. The Code states that as long as a semen donation is provided through a licensed physician and surgeon or to a licensed sperm bank, the donor will not be considered the natural parent of the child conceived from the donation.

Licensed facilities usually guarantee that sperm donation will remain anonymous. The donor will not know if or when his donation is used, and the mother will not have any means by which she can contact the donor. Some facilities do have provisions for sperm donors who would like to have some involvement in the child’s life.

California, along with other states, put sperm donation laws in place to protect sperm donors from parental responsibility. Anyone choosing to donate sperm would be wise to do so at a licensed facility where they are legally protected from parental obligations.

An Experienced California Family Law Attorney Can Help

If you would like to learn more about sperm donation and whether it is the right choice for you or your loved one, contact the experienced Los Angeles family law lawyers at Fernandez & Karney. Our attorneys are skilled and knowledgeable in all areas of legal parentage. They are available to assist you with any aspect of the sperm donation process, from initial donation to adoption if needed.

Let Fernandez & Karney advise you about protecting your parental rights and obligations as a sperm donor or a recipient of donated sperm. Or, we can help build a case if you have an issue following a sperm donation. Speak with a professional at Fernandez & Karney today.