In Florida, a sperm donor’s parental rights are governed by Florida statute section 742.14, which provides as follows:
The donor of any egg, sperm, or preembryo, other than the commissioning couple or a father who has executed a preplanned adoption agreement under s. 63.212, shall relinquish all maternal or paternal rights and obligations with respect to the donation or the resulting children. Only reasonable compensation directly related to the donation of eggs, sperm, and preembryos shall be permitted.
As reported here, the Kansas Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of a similar statute. The case is generating national attention, and will probably have national ripple effects if the statute is overturned on constitutional grounds. The Kansas Supreme Court is expected to rule by February. Here is an excerpt from the linked-to story:
A case before the Kansas Supreme Court has become a key test of the rights of sperm donors who want to be involved with their offspring over the objection of the children’s mothers.
The dispute, which has drawn national attention, involves a single woman, identified in court papers only as S.H., who gave birth to twins in May 2005 after being inseminated with the sperm of a friend, identified as D.H.
After the mother made it clear that she did not intend to share parenting, D.H. sued to establish paternity. He lost in a trial court because of a Kansas law that says the donor of sperm provided for artificial insemination is not the legal father of the child unless the donor and mother agree to it in writing.
The major question in the case is whether requiring such written agreements in cases involving sperm donors known to the mother, not anonymous donors from sperm banks, violates the donor’s constitutional rights as a parent. Like Kansas, many states have legal hurdles for donors seeking parental status.
The case arises at a time of increasing advances in reproductive technology. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the numbers of women being impregnated with eggs fertilized outside the womb is significantly on the rise. There are no reliable statistics on methods of conception with donated sperm.
"It’s clearly a broadening phenomenon," New York University sociology professor Judith Stacey says of artificial insemination with donor sperm. "All of this is tied to changes in the family, including women choosing to marry later and the gay and lesbian movement. What hasn’t changed is women’s desire to have children."
Most sperm donors are anonymous and waive parental rights. The move typically shields donors from demands for child support and protects mothers’ privacy.
However, when the donor and the mother know each other, different expectations and legal complications can arise, as is the Kansas case and others in recent years from California to Pennsylvania. The cases reflect the lack of uniformity in laws regarding sperm donors, says American University law professor Nancy Polikoff, one of 20 family law professors who filed a brief in support of the Kansas mother. They say states traditionally have had broad latitude to define parentage on factors other than biology, such as marriage.