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Michigan case brings up issue of sperm donor rights in Michigan

Sperm donation can involve some tricky legal issues and may lead to problems when the donor and the recipient disagree on their arrangement after the donation has taken place. The problem is only compounded when state law isn’t clear about custody rights in such cases. A custody case recently filed in Wayne County provides a good example of this.

In that case, a woman from the Detroit area is reportedly suing a sperm donor who is seeking full custody of her three children eleven years after the woman’s first child was born and over 7 years after her twins were born. The child custody dispute is apparently coming up now because the mother attempted to end the donor’s visitation rights. 

The donor and the woman had reportedly signed an agreement prior to the donation in which the donor released any claim for paternity or parenting time, but because Michigan currently has no statute addressing the rights of a sperm donor, the agreement carries no weight in Michigan.

Because of this, the donor claims he has the right to file for paternity under the Michigan Paternity Act, since the children were born outside wedlock, an issue we’ve discussed in recent posts. Whether or not—and if so, how—that law should be applied in cases of sperm donation is apparently the issue. Because of the lack of law addressing donor rights in Michigan, the mother is arguing for the application of the California Uniform Parentage Act, a version of which has been enacted in seven states. Under that law, the donor would have no custody or parental rights.

Custody disputes, of course, can be quite difficult for parties to go through, especially when there has been significant bonding with the children involved. This is why it is absolutely critical for parties to these disputes to work with an experienced attorney, particularly in cases where the law isn’t clear. We’ll be keeping an eye on this case and updating readers, so stay tuned.

Source: pridesource.com, “Lesbian Fights For Custody Rights of Children,” AJ Trager, Jan. 15, 2015. 

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Michigan case brings up issue of sperm donor rights in Michigan | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC