Critics say a bill in California legislation would give men the right to assert paternity rights, even after abandoning those rights prior to conception. The bill reportedly passed easily through the California senate. Some opponents say the legislation is unfair to mothers while others say it simply closes a loophole that previously did not allow sperm donors to assert parental rights.
The bill was inspired when a California actor sued for custody of a three-year-old child conceived as a result of a sperm donation. The court in that litigation said that the actor was not legally a natural father because he was a sperm donor. He therefore had no legal standing to sue for custody.
Current laws do not consider sperm donors the ‘natural fathers” of children conceived as a result of a donation without the written preconception consent of both parents. Both anonymous donors and known donors participating in in vitro fertilization are subject to the existing laws.
Under the new legislation, any sperm donor could sue for parentage. The bill requires only that a donor prove that he ‘receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child” to be granted parental rights. Proponents say that this requirement protects mothers from a donor who might impose themselves into the family against the will of the mother. Those in opposition say that the law will allow for the disruption of a family’s life by a sperm donor even if parentage is not granted.
Persons seeking to establish paternity rights through the court system may face unique challenges. Such litigation may require the assistance of an experienced family lawyer who can assist in the prosecution of complex family law matters.
Source: ABC, “Jason Patric Bill Draws Criticism“, Sydney Lupkin, July 12, 2013