In with New Families, out with Bad Law: Determining the Rights of Known Sperm Donors through Intent-Based Written Agreements

By Garcia, Maria E. | Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, Fall 2013 | Go to article overview

In with New Families, out with Bad Law: Determining the Rights of Known Sperm Donors through Intent-Based Written Agreements


Garcia, Maria E., Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy


I. INTRODUCTION

U.S. society is changing. Just turn on the television and see. Each week, millions of devoted fans tune in to shows like "Modern Family" and "The New Normal," which portray the lives of "non-traditional families," including same-sex couples with adopted children, surrogate mothers, and single parents. (1) The market for television shows that feature "non-traditional families" demonstrates that U.S. society and values concerning the "traditional family" are changing and accepted. (2)

Presently, U.S. society is no longer confined by the "Leave it to Beaver" (3) conception of the traditional family unit. Statistical data gathered in the 2010 U.S. Census demonstrates that over the last ten years, husband-wife households made up less than 50% of all U.S. households for the first time in U.S. history, while unmarried opposite sex households increased by 40%, and same-sex households increased by 80%. (4) In accordance with popular culture's evolution of the family unit, U.S. law has also evolved to reflect the rise of "non-traditional families." For instance, eleven states and Washington D.C. recognize same-sex couples' right to marry. (5) However, the law has not evolved as rapidly in other areas of family law that directly affect the construction of "non-traditional families." One such area is artificial insemination and the rights of sperm donors.

Motherhood among lesbian women and single, unmarried heterosexual women is increasing in the U.S. (6) This is in part due to scientific advancements in assisted reproductive technology (ART) and its growing use. (7) Many women wishing to conceive do so through artificial insemination using a sperm donor. (8) While many women choose to be inseminated with semen from an anonymous donor, others use semen from a known donor. (9) A woman's preference for a known donor may stem from her increased opportunity to observe the behavior and characteristics of a man she knows, access his medical history, and reduce the costs associated with the procedure. (10)

The law is well settled that anonymous donors relinquish their parental rights. As such, they cannot be sued for child support and cannot sue for parental rights. (11) However, the law regarding parentage and the rights of known donors is somewhat nebulous and often outdated. This note discusses the issues arising from these laws and the need for reform.

The conflict of determining parentage and the rights of known sperm donors occurs primarily in two scenarios. (12) In the first scenario, the recipient mother approaches a known donor and the parties agree that the known donor will relinquish all parental rights and responsibilities if a child is conceived. The recipient-mother agrees that she will not seek to hold the known donor responsible for financial or emotional support regarding the child. In this scenario, the legal system becomes involved when the recipient-mother reneges on this agreement and files a claim against the known donor for child support.

In the second scenario, a recipient-mother approaches a known donor and the parties agree that the known donor will have continued involvement in the child's life. This can range from full parental rights to visitation rights. However, after the child's birth, the recipient-mother terminates the relationship between the known donor and the child and contests the existence or enforceability of any agreement. It is important to note that in both the first and second scenario, the facts are often unclear as to whether there was an agreement between the parties or what the terms of any alleged agreement may be.

This note examines the issues involved in determining parental and donor rights when mothers-to-be enter into agreements with known sperm donors. First, in section II, I discuss the evolution of the Uniform Parentage Act of 1973 from its conception in 1973 to its most recent articulation in 2002. In section III, I briefly explain the intent-based approach to determining donor's rights. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In with New Families, out with Bad Law: Determining the Rights of Known Sperm Donors through Intent-Based Written Agreements
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.