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Judge hears arguments in Kansas sperm donor case

A Kansas judge said she will issue a written ruling on motions by the state and a man who provided sperm to a lesbian couple but never intended to be the resulting child’s father.

Attorneys for the state and William Marotta presented arguments late last week to Shawnee County District Judge Mary Mattivi on why she should issue summary judgment in their favor, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

The Kansas Department of Children and Families filed the case in October 2012 seeking to have Marotta declared the father of a girl born to Jennifer Schreiner in 2009. The Topeka man is fighting the action, saying he signed a contract waiving his parental rights and responsibilities when he agreed to donate sperm in a plastic cup to Schreiner and Angela Bauer, who was her lesbian partner.

Marotta said he did not intend to become the father of the girl, who is 4 years old.

Timothy Keck, co-lead counsel for the state, said that the case is about child support, while Benoit Swinnen, representing Marotta, cited several court rulings he said support the argument that Marotta is legally a sperm donor – and not required to pay child support.

Marotta contacted the women after they placed an ad on Craigslist seeking a sperm donor. The state argues that the contract between the women and Marotta is moot because they didn’t follow a Kansas statute enacted in 1994 that the state says requires a licensed physician to perform the artificial insemination in cases involving sperm donors.

The statute reads: “The donor of semen provided to a licensed physician for use in artificial insemination of a woman other than the donor’s wife is treated in law as if he were not the birth father of a child thereby conceived, unless agreed to in writing by the donor and the woman.”

But Swinnen said the statute doesn’t specifically give a directive that the artificial insemination must be carried out by a physician.

M. Jill Dykes, guardian ad litem for the girl, said if the court rules in the state’s favor, it must order genetic testing and consider the best interests of the child.

Mattivi didn’t say when she would issue her ruling.

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