When a baby is born to a legally married lesbian or gay couple in Massachusetts, one would presume the couple to be the legal parents of the child, regardless of whether the pregnancy resulted from sperm donation, artificial insemination or surrogacy. However, that is not always the case legally, as one set of same-sex spouses in another state found. Unless certain criteria are met, nothing prevents a donor or surrogate from claiming parentage or seeking visitation rights on the grounds of his or her biological connection. 

Same-sex couples who consider starting a family may want to gain information on the requirements under current laws. A couple in another state is involved in two custody battles that could have been avoided had they been aware of certain laws. They have two children from two different sperm donors who are both seeking visitation with their children.

Although both donors signed agreements relinquishing parental rights, the insemination procedures were performed at home and not under the direct supervision of a doctor as required by law, making the contracts essentially void. In both cases, the courts have awarded visitation to the donors. The couple is appealing the rulings of the two cases in which the two donors were awarded visitation rights.

Same-sex spouses in Massachusetts have to face multiple family law issues that have not yet been addressed in the movement toward marriage equality. For this reason, they may want to consult with an experienced attorney who focuses on same-sex family law. Being informed at about their legal rights may allow them to avoid traumatic experiences in the future.

Source: thegrio.com, “Lesbian couple locked in custody battle with sperm donor could set legal precedent“, Feb. 10, 2015