For Sperm Donors in Australia visit Co-ParentMatch.com
He was so excited about the impending birth of his child 10 years ago he discussed building a home in the Blue Mountains for himself and the lesbian couple who had used his donated sperm to conceive.
The man, who can only be known by court order as BB, said they agreed he should be involved in his daughter’s life but exactly how was never decided.
After answering the couple’s advertisment in a magazine, BB said he provided sperm to the birth mother, paid $5000 for her fertility treatments at an Eastern suburbs clinic and paid for the midwife who managed the home birth of their daughter in 2001.
He had also agreed to father a child with the woman’s then partner, who can only be known as AA, but that failed. The two women separated in 2008.
Ten years on, after a tumultuous relationship among the three parents, the woman’s ex-partner, AA, is taking the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and BB to court to have his name removed from the girl’s birth certificate.
It is the first case of its kind since the introduction of a retrospective law in 2008 giving lesbian couples equal parenting responsibilities or legal status.
Of 94,354 birth registrations last year, 117 were for children born to same-sex parents.
BB said he had gone through “10 years of hell” and spent $50,000 on legal fees.
He has seen the girl for five hours a fortnight since she was one. He paid $150 a week support for her first year, though he was not obliged to, and paid one-third of her school fees for two years.
Last year he had allowed the birth mother, listed on the birth certificate as a funeral celebrant, to stay at his home for three months when she was unable to pay rent at her own home, he said.
The girl is the major beneficiary in his will and she calls his mother “Nan.”
He is devastated that he may be taken off the birth certificate.
“It’s a very depressing situation … the birth certificate is more than a bit of paper; it tells people who you are,” he said.
“No one seems to care about fathers these days.”
He said the three had been “all wrapped up in the moment of having the child” and were on good terms until the birth.
“I was going to build this great big house and live together … Everything was fine until the baby was born … they used me and they took my money and now they’ve got what they want, they really just didn’t want to know me.”
Both women have declined to comment.
A sperm donor does not have legal parenting responsibilities – and thus cannot make decisions about the child’s education or medical needs – even if a court grants visitation rights and he is on the birth certificate.
It is not possible under NSW law to have three parents with legal responsibilities. Had BB had sexual intercourse with the woman or married her, he would have gained that legal status.
Partners of lesbian mothers gained that right automatically with the introduction of the Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Same Sex Relationships) Act 2008.
A family law expert, Paul Boers, said there was still confusion among gay and lesbian parents.
“I get lesbian couples concerned about whether the sperm donor might come back and seek parenting orders [to spend time with the child]. I tell them that he’s got to get over the hurdle of convincing a court that he’s concerned with the care, welfare and development of the child and he’s got an established relationship with the child.”
The case is set down for hearing on August 2.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald May 25th 2011