Sperm donor given parental responsibility

Family|February 3rd 2015

A man who donated sperm to help a lesbian woman conceive has been grated parental responsibility.

In JB v KS, the parents made contact on a ‘co-parenting’ site, with the aim of conceiving a child. The father was heterosexual but “found it difficult to meet women and to develop relationships”.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Hayden explained:

“[The father] told me that he saw some opportunity to parent a child opened up by this particular website. It seems to me, listening to him give evidence, that, like so many interactions by people on the internet, part of his aspirations were grounded in reality whilst others were mere fantasy.”

Following the man’s donation, the woman fell pregnant and gave birth to a healthy child.

The mother agreed that the father could see his son but became concerned when he began to claim to other people that they were in fact involved in a relationship, introducing her to his parents as his girlfriend. When she broke off contact, he applied for a parental responsibility order. This would confirm his legal status as the baby’s legal father, conferring paternal rights and duties on him.

The child’s legal guardian supported the father’s application, saying it would merely be an acknowledgement of the father’s role in his son’s life. His application was granted, after the parents were able to come to some substantial agreements regarding future contact between the father and the child on the second day of the hearing – including the introduction of unsupervised contact and contact during school holidays when the boy was older.

It would have been wrong, said the Judge, to treat the case in the same ways as a birth resulting from a conventional union, but the parents had managed to achieve a respectful relationship which would endure, he believed. He also did not believe that the father would use his newly parental responsibility to undermine the mother.

The Judge declared:

“This case has a lengthy litigation history. That is always sad where the welfare of a child is involved. It is particularly so where two highly committed and instinctively skilful parents, who otherwise have an enormous amount to offer a child, fallout and misdirect their energies into the litigation process.”

The father’s name would now be added to the child’ birth certificate,

Read the full judgement here.

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  1. marilynn says:

    Good! We need to remember that people with offspring are parents and if they are absent from their children’s lives in the roll of rearing parent either daily or at least with shared custody, it is a real tragedy for their child and their family. We should not be talking about parental abandonment as if it’s a way for others to conceive their children because it’s a sham. Calling them gamete donors is such a crock because they become parents of the biological sort as soon as their offspring are born no different than any other human. Their kids are as related to them as any other child and parent. They just promise to be gone if and when their children are born. And its a good thing more and more are changing their minds. Being abandoned is not like being born crippled; it can be turned around and fixed by the parents behaving differently. Anyone who actually wants a parent to abandon their child to either let them raise the kid alone or raise them with someone they like better is not thinking about what a tragedy it will be for the kid and their family.

  2. Colorado Reader says:

    I would think every child should have the right to have his/her bio parents identified at birth – and put on the birth certificate then. It costs increasingly little to do paternity testing so this can have legal import without false attribution.

    It’s a right that belongs to the child.

    This is a big problem with the UK Parental Responsibility law. For men, it is based in marriage to the mother, not actual paternity, whereas for women, it is based in actual maternity.

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