Can Sperm Donors be Forced to Pay Child Support?


Craigslist is a great resource for many types of purchases, but Pasadena family law attorneys say the publicity surrounding a recent child support case in the state of Kansas proves that buying sperm from the popular website is not a good idea.

William Marotta is being sued for child support after donating his sperm to a same-sex couple who placed an ad on Craigslist. The women, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, used a catheter and syringe to impregnate Schreiner in 2009. The child born as a result of Marotta's donation is now almost four years old.

Bauer and Schreiner have since separated and Schreiner is struggling to support the child after an injury left her unable to work. When Schreiner sought subsidized health care coverage for the girl, she was forced to name Marotta as the sperm donor. The state is now seeking child support payments from Marotta, who states the contract the three parties drew up before his sperm donation should absolve him from child support liability. A Kansas district court judge heard arguments last week, but it could be up to two years before the issue is fully resolved.

California law states that men who donate their sperm through a licensed medical facility do not have to pay child support for any children that are conceived as a result of the donation. They have no paternal rights and can't seek visitation with the child unless the woman agrees to allow the child to have contact.

It's important to note that the law only protects donations done under the supervision of a licensed fertility center. If the arrangement is done informally, there is no legal protection on either end. The woman could find out that the man wants visitation with the child, even if he previously expressed no interest in playing an active parental role. The man could be required to pay child support at some time in the future if the women is no longer able to provide for the child on her own.

California law requires that women seeking public assistance benefits for their children file for child support, so a woman in desperate financial circumstances wouldn't be able to protect her informal sperm donor from a child support claim even if she wanted to. Most other states have similar laws. In the Marotta case, for example, both women have said they fully support Marotta in his decision to fight the state of Kansas in the attempt to hold him financially liable for the girl.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at if you have a question regarding child support laws in the state of California. Our Pasadena family law firm works with both custodial and noncustodial parents to resolve a variety of child support related concerns.