A Kansas man who answered a Craigslist ad to donate sperm so two women could have a baby together is not legally the child's father and isn't required to provide financial support, a judge ruled. The state Department for Children and Families, which sought to force William Marotta to pay child support for the girl born in 2009, has not decided if it will appeal the ruling of Judge Mary Mattivi. Mattivi last year required Marotta to submit a DNA sample to confirm that he was the girl's biological father and declared he was not "a mere donor of sperm." But the judge's Nov. 22 ruling concluded that birth mother's former partner should be considered the child's second parent rather than Marotta, in part because he has had minimal contact with the girl.
The department filed a petition in 2012 to have Marotta declared the child's legal father and require him to pay child support after the women, birth mother Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer, separated and Schreiner received assistance from the state. Marotta's attorney said the agency's position was "radical" and discriminated against same-sex couples. The agency argued that Marotta was legally on the hook for child support—even though he never intended to act as the child's father—because the two women did not use a physician. A 1994 Kansas law says a man who provides donated sperm to a doctor for an insemination is not the child's parent, absent a written agreement saying otherwise. (Read more sperm donors stories.)