TOPEKA, Kan. — A sperm donor being ordered to pay child support is speaking out. William Marotta says he’s never had any rights or responsibility to the child he helped a lesbian couple bear.
But the state of Kansas is saying otherwise.
Marotta says three years ago he gave up all rights to the little girl he’s only seen twice.
However, because of a loophole in Kansas law, and because the couple didn’t use a doctor to get pregnant with Marotta’s sperm, the state says he’s responsible for the monthly child support payments.
It all started with a 2009 Topeka Craigslist ad seeking a sperm donor. The post made by couple Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner — William Marotta and his wife responded.
“They were a couple. They couldn’t have children by themselves. Its something I could help with,” Marotta told FOX 4.
Marotta says he didn’t receive any payment and consented to a written agreement signing away any parental rights long before the little girl was born.
“They very much wanted something in place that said okay, you’re doing this for us but you don’t have any claim to this child,” he said.
But in October 2012, Marotta says the Kansas Department for Children and Family Services informed him he was being ordered to cough up the less than 200 dollars a month the state had been paying.
Marotta said he was shocked, “At which point I’m going, wow, no good deed goes unpunished.”
Marotta says the couple had split up and the birth mother, Jennifer, filed for social welfare. Though, Marotta says, both mothers are still in the picture and still acting as the child’s parents.
“Jennifer was pressured, coerced in essence to give my name,” he said.
According to court documents, the state argues that because the insemination was not performed by a licensed doctor, the sperm donor contract was null and void.
Marotta believes the state’s argument is at least partially politically motivated.
“I think if this was a lesbian couple in southern California I don’t think it would even be an issue right now,” he said.
Marotta says the child’s mothers fully support him and have told the state they are the ones who should be held responsible. Still, Marotta says he’s now up for a lengthy legal battle, one he says, could have many implications down the road.
Marotta has already spent more than ten percent of his yearly salary on legal feed.
His attorneys, Benoit Swinnen and Hannah Schroller, have reduced their fee but are expecting the legal process to take more than two years.
A legal defense fund has been set up to help Marotta fight the State of Kansas.
A link to the fund can be found here.
Marotta says any remaining funds not used in his defense will be given to other sperm donors in need of legal help.
The Kansas Department for Children and Family Services did not return our calls for comment.