In the past, fatherhood was fairly easy to determine. Most children were born naturally and within the confines of marriage, so there was no issues about which man was the father and if a sperm donor was considered a father. But now, Pennsylvanians may be confused about situations in which a woman accepts a sperm donation and uses it to make a baby. Is the sperm donor a father? Actor Jason Patric seems to think so. He and his former girlfriend have been arguing over child custody of the 4-year-old boy they created together.
In 2002, Patric, 47, became romantically involved with a woman, 41, who desperately wanted to become a mother. The attempts were unsuccessful, so in 2009, the two decided to try artificial insemination, even though they were not a couple at the time. It was successful and their boy is now 4 years old.
The pair rekindled their romance after the boy was born, but split for good in June 2012. That was when Patric filed for joint child custody. However, his ex-girlfriend has won the first round of court proceedings, with statute claiming that a man who donates sperm to an unmarried friend is not treated as the natural father. There was no written agreement stating otherwise.
Patric, however, is not giving up without a fight. He claims there is strong evidence that his ex-girlfriend wanted him to act as the boy’s father. He is devastated that he cannot see the boy and has even created a father’s rights group to help others in the same situation.
With a growing number of lesbians and infertile couples looking to sperm donation, these types of cases will only increase. It is advised that those in these situations understand state laws. If sperm donors want to be considered parents, they should ensure this clause is in writing and agreed upon by all parties.
Source: The New York Times, “Does ‘Sperm Donor’ Mean ‘Dad’?” Brooks Barnes, May. 02, 2014