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Parental laws throughout U.S. are antiquated

The media recently exploded with stories about a sperm donor, who was being sued by the state where he lives to pay child support for the child that resulted from an artificial insemination. The man had connected with a lesbian couple through the popular online classified ads website CraigsList and, without the help of medical professionals, provided his sperm for artificial insemination.

Since, under law, he was the child's father, the state is holding him financially accountable for the child.

This story likely grew partly because it underscores the antiquated family laws all across the country, including here in Minnesota. Same-sex couples and single women can obviously not conceive a child of their own, so they're turning to evolving scientific processes to help. Avenues like artificial insemination are not only growing in popularity, but individuals are able to carry out the process without the help of doctors.

Laws that were established around 1973 specified that sperm donors must only participate in the artificial insemination process with the help of a doctor, otherwise, they will remain on the hook regarding parental responsibilities. That stipulation was later dropped when the laws were updated for a hand full of states, but remains outdated in many others. Attempts to update laws have also proved slow moving.

Similar to the aforementioned sperm donor's case, another man in the Midwest region was recently ordered to pay child support for two children he had with his then-wife, but they were conceived through a sperm donor.

Inconsistent laws can make child custody and child support cases incredibly confusing and frustrating. Until states can update their laws to meet the demands of the changing times, parents in non-traditional families run the risk of being jilted.

Source: Associated Press, "Case of Kansas sperm donor ordered to pay child support reveals related risks, legal issues," Jan. 21, 2013

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