Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Sperm donors: One of the pitfalls for a nontraditional family

Same-sex couples in Massachusetts have several options to choose from when they decide the time is right to start a family. Unfortunately, sometimes a nontraditional family chooses to navigate this process on their own, not realizing that there may be many pitfalls along the way. The laws related to same-sex families using third-parties as surrogates or sperm donors vary in different states, and it may be wise to research the legalities before taking the first step.

A man in another state is suffering the consequences of such a private agreement. He responded to an advertisement on Craigslist in which a lesbian couple sought a sperm donor in 2009. He responded and the couple accepted his offer. An agreement was signed by the lesbian couple and the sperm donor in which it was agreed that he would have no parental rights. A little girl was born, and he thought he had done a good deed and thought no more of it.

However, apparently, the state regards the donor as the father and ordered a paternity test. Despite the fact that the couple does not want the donor to pay child support, the state insists that it is his responsibility. After years of accumulating legal fees, the sperm donor's battle continues.

A nontraditional family in Massachusetts who wants to avoid stressful and costly litigation may benefit from consulting with an experienced same-sex family law attorney. The applicable laws will be explained, and the various legal options can be considered. A lawyer can draft agreements that will hold up in court and provide guidance and support throughout the proceedings.

Source: ABC News, "Sperm donor blames Governor Brownback for child support battle", Ali Stewart, Sept. 2, 2015

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