Should a sperm donor have parental rights?

@laylomo (166)
United States
November 23, 2007 6:50pm CST
A Topeka man is battling for parental custody rights because his babies' mother says he is just the sperm donor. Daryl Hendrix, a homosexual man, agreed with longtime friend Samantha Harrington to father her child through artificial insemination in 2004. Harrington said that a written contract was not needed; their friendship, along with the oral agreement reached, was enough. After two attempts, Harrington, a Kansas attorney, was pregnant with twins. Born May 2005 at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka, a boy and a girl was born. However, when Hendrix tried to see his children, he was turned away; in Kansas, donor fathers are not allowed to see their children unless there is a written contract. Moreover, Harrington filed papers asking to remove any possible parental rights Hendrix may have. In a 4-2 opinion by the Kansas Supreme Court on October 26, 2007, the court ruled that the 1994 law that required a written contract between mother and father is to be held. Should the father have legal custody? What do you think?
5 people like this
12 responses
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
24 Nov 07
Why did you have to mention that he was a homosexual? You see, this would mean your discussion could be taken as discrimination against homosexual sperm donors and not as discrimination against all men. AS for rights, unless he signed a written contract he is in no way responsible for taking care of or visiting the children. He will have to wait until he takes a DNA test and only the mother wants money from him. In this case, the mother is probably concerned about the influence the father might have on the children. It all depends on what she has gone through since.
@laylomo (166)
• United States
24 Nov 07
If you looked at the posts, there are no responses regarding homosexual discrimination (sans yours, of course). The reasons why I did mention he was gay were: 1. It was mentioned in the article I read. I try to give all the information in an article when I post them up on Mylot. 2. It offered justification as to why he actually agreed to be a donor in the first place. 3. Perhaps it was discrimination. It's a discussion; all opinions on topic should be discussed.
2 people like this
@Netsbridge (3242)
• United States
24 Nov 07
Children are properties of their fathers. Regardless of the terms signed in any contract by a sperm donor, if the man later decides to be a father and raise his child, there should be no opposition. While some women have this crazy idea that they can have and raise cildren without the father, this practice is really a problem and a break down of the family unit. It is no secret that most homes without a father figure often result in restless and uncontrolled children, and young girls who eventually assume they have to fill that father vacancy by seeking male acceptance through promiscuity.
• United States
24 Nov 07
You have some good points, Nets. But what about women who go to a sperm bank because they are in stable relationships with men who want to be fathers to the children that result from that? Should those biological fathers still have rights to the children?
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Nov 07
Blueunicorn, when you say "women in stable relationships with men who want to be fathers", you mean married women, I hope. Well, for anything other than married couples, my above statement still stands. But as per childless married couples, I suggest that they first establish which of the pair is having problems and then bring in a trusted relative to assist in the childbearing process using in vitro fertilization. But if a non-family member were brought in to assist a married couple in having a child (a method I do not recommend), there should be no question as to fatherhood, seeing the child is born to a married couple and already has a father.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Nov 07
There is a good reason why you should have everything signed, sealed and delivered as the old saying is. I have to commend the guy for wanting to be responsible. The story is usually the other way around. If you give your word, whether there is a written contract or not, you should keep it. Goes to show that the lady can't be trusted either.
• United States
24 Nov 07
If I read the story right she was aware of it because she is a Kansas attorney.
2 people like this
• United States
24 Nov 07
I missed the part about the woman being an attorney the first time I read this. In my mind that makes her actions even worse. She knew exactly what she was doing. It was clear she did not value the friendship she had with the donor.
1 person likes this
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
24 Nov 07
It should be a possibility, unless some sort of legal contract denying it was signed. Even then, there were some mothers try breach of contract to obtain their kids again (in the case of adoption). Also consider there has been some consideration of legislation to charge the donors child support. And why should a person pay for child support for a child they are never allowed to see or have no legal rights too? Interesting situation Laylomo, thank you for sharing it.
2 people like this
@laylomo (166)
• United States
24 Nov 07
And thank you for responding.
1 person likes this
@raychill (6530)
• United States
24 Nov 07
When someone donates Bone Marrow to a cancer patient, do they have bone rights to that person? When someone donates blood to someone else...do they have rights over what they do? When someone donate's any body part to someone else, does that person have the rights to the new owner? If sperm Donors should have parental rights to a child that came from their donation than any and all donors should have rights to all the people who use their donation... AND sperm donors should be fined for wreckless abandonment every time they let out sperm without intent for it to create a baby. That's what I think. in short. No. That's idiotic.
2 people like this
@venshida (4837)
• United States
24 Nov 07
Its commendable that he wants to see the kids. I would of said no, but the man has a relationship with this woman. There is a connection with the kids in place. It is in the best interest of the children to have a relationship with him. If it was an annonymous donor, I would of said no rights.
@ayou82 (3460)
• Philippines
24 Nov 07
Well for me i dont think they have the rights to that child anymore..
2 people like this
@Margajoe (4718)
• Germany
24 Nov 07
I think the father should have legal custody. They were friends, why should that be a problem? She should be glad he is a responible man. I would have been alot happier if my ex husband would have shown some responsability towards his children. He did not, I feel that my son would have been better off if his father had been more a father. Children need both there parents. Take care, have a nice day.
2 people like this
• United States
24 Nov 07
I believe if a man wants his parental rights , he better get everything in writing or he will lose everything. And when he gets everything in writing , he better get a good lawyer too.There are many legal ways women can win more parental rights over men these days and he needs t be prepared for a fight. If he is only suppose to be a donor and not a parent, it better be written down that way or there could be a fight for custody. I guess that is why sperm banks are a better way to go.
2 people like this
@blueunicorn (2409)
• United States
24 Nov 07
This is, in my opinion, just another example of how two faced we are in America. If the woman had wanted to turn around and sue for child support I bet she would have gotten it. On what ground? The courts would say that there was no written contract, therefore they cannot know for sure that the man never intended to be the father of this child with the woman. It is so frustrating to hear stories like this. On a personal level I don't think that the donor should have contact with these children- unless the mother didn't want them for some reason or was found to be abusive. It just makes me angry, though, how the people who want to use the court systems can.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Nov 07
You are right if the woman wanted to sue for support she could have gotten it. They didn't go through a sperm bank where everything was unknown. They made a desicion and a verbal agreement to go have this done. Therefore the same rules should not apply. If done through a sperm bank where everything was unknown I would say NO to the father having anything to do with the children because that was the way the sperm bank set it up and he knew this beforehand. The woman and the man were friends and set this up. There was a verbal agreement between them so yes he should have rights as a father. He should have had everything legal but he didn't.
2 people like this
• United States
24 Nov 07
You know, after thinking about this a lot I think the donor should have rights as a father. The reason is something you pointed out that I didn't take into account the first time around. This woman and the donor were friends before she decided to impregnate herself. Did she think he would just disappear after that? Come on, if you see your own biological child(ren) you are going to have an emotional reaction. No doubt that if this donor was a caring human being he would want to have some rights to the kids. Also, a husband is never mentioned in this story. I just wonder about that. No matter what I do feel bad for the donor.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27245)
• United States
27 Nov 07
I definitely think he should have some parental rights but the way the law works he probably won't. Sadly, if it would have been the case of the mother deciding she wanted support and his saying he was just a "sperm donor" it probably would have gone against him then too. I'm a woman but I definitely think fathers get a raw deal too often. So much for a long time friendship! For her, as an attorney, to have told him no contract was necessary was downright dirty in my opinion. Annie
@men82in (1270)
• India
25 Nov 07
Once a donor meant no rights over the things whatever donated. The sensitive issues as sperm donating or transplantations of organs of human role in donating to other human only had the right to visit or courtesy expectations can be permitted . Claiming through legally ownership or dependancy is horrible. Looking into deeply other than transplantations donaing organs and sperms separate legal bindings must be framed all over the world towards any atrocities. We can expect such adoption legal issue bindings also.