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  1. #1
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    Attention those who have donated sperm...

    Sperm donor fights order to support 2 children

    Friday, May 20, 2005
    By Barbara White Stack, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is weighing a case with the potential to strike fear in the hearts of sperm donors who thought they were getting $50 for their genetic material and nothing more -- certainly no responsibility for babies created with it.

    The justices heard arguments this week in a case that forces them to weigh the right of children to financial aid from two parents against the right of men to provide sperm for in-vitro fertilization without the donors being held responsible for any offspring.

    "There is a lot of fear surrounding this court case because if the court extends this beyond support, to rights and obligations, then I think it will create a serious chilling effect," said Lawrence Kalikow, a Bucks County lawyer who is an expert in surrogacy, sperm and egg donation cases.

    The genesis of the case is a decade-old deal between ex-lovers, Joel L. McKiernan, now of Mt. Lebanon, and Ivonne V. Ferguson, now of New York. He agreed to provide sperm for babies she wanted and she agreed to absolve him of responsibility for their progeny.

    Through in-vitro fertilization, she bore twins and raised them alone for five years. Then she sued McKiernan for child support in Dauphin County.

    The Common Pleas Court judge there acknowledged that the couple had a binding verbal contract that released McKiernan from the normal responsibilities of fathers. But he decided the contract was invalid because the two had wrongly bargained away rights of the twins, particularly their right to child support from two parents.

    Then the court ordered McKiernan to pay $1,500 in support a month. He appealed. Last July Superior Court said the lower court judge was right. That's what got McKiernan before the Supreme Court this week.

    There Justice Ronald D. Castille asked Elizabeth A. Hoffman, the Harrisburg lawyer representing Ferguson, whether the court's invalidating the verbal contract between Ferguson and McKiernan would make it difficult for infertile couples to obtain sperm donors.

    Hoffman's argument was that anonymous donors to sperm banks wouldn't be affected because their contracts are with the banks, not with the potential mothers.

    And she stressed that only cases involving single mothers are relevant because in Pennsylvania children born to married women are assumed to be those of the husband. In those cases, then, the children have two parents to provide support.

    At this point, sperm donation centers don't seem to be in panic. One of the largest in the country, Cryobank of California, mentions the Pennsylvania decision on its Web site but assures its donors they're unaffected. California has a law protecting donors from support actions. Pennsylvania does not.

    A supervisor at Cryobiology Inc. of Columbus, which has a sperm collection center in Pittsburgh, was unaware of the case as was the executive director of the Reproductive Science Institute with three offices outside Philadelphia.

    Both Donna Ridder of Cryobiology and June Amarant of Reproductive Science said they thought their contracts would protect donors.

    The lawyer representing McKiernan wasn't so sure. Attorney John W. Purcell Jr., of Harrisburg, said that if a judge decided that a contract between mother and father was invalid because it denied children their rights, it could nullify a contract between a man and a sperm center denying children rights.

    And such anonymous donors are traceable. Banks ordered by courts to find and identify donors have the means to do it.

    Donors should have some concern, said Erie lawyer Joe Martone, who is handling a case that is the reverse -- an egg donor seeking custody rights to triplets she didn't bear and has never supported.

    The vast majority of cases in which children are conceived from donated eggs or sperm work out happily ever after, Martone said.

    But if the Supreme Court upholds the lower courts' decisions in this case, Martone said, it's possible that single parents who conceived with donated genetic material will demand the names of the donors and seek support.

    He and attorney Kalikow agreed the problem would be resolved if Pennsylvania passes legislation -- as at least a dozen other states have -- regulating sperm and egg donation.

    Although this is a Pennsylvania case, it could have repercussions elsewhere, Purcell said. If a bank in California ships sperm to the doctor of a single woman in Pittsburgh, it is conceivable that the Pennsylvania-born child would be covered by the Pennsylvania decision, he said. Or, he said, it's possible a child would be covered if the mother moved to Pennsylvania to deliver.

    If the court rules that McKiernan must continue to pay, he said, that could chill donation everywhere.

    And that, Kalikow said, would hurt infertile couples. "If donors don't want to donate, then intended parents have that option foreclosed."

    Both he and Percell said there is an example in Pennsylvania law that would enable the Supreme Court to release sperm donors of obligations to be the second parent to children born to single mothers.

    In cases of abused or neglected children, it is fairly common now for courts to terminate the rights of both parents then permit one person, usually an unmarried or widowed foster parent, to adopt. That action leaves the child without two parents to support him.


    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05140/507736.stm



    Oivay...

  2. #2
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    I don't understand how for $50 you can sell a son or daughter. I just wouldn't be able to live after doing such a thing knowing that I could have kids that I will never get to see.
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  3. #3
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    Infertile couples that want a child to love and support tend to go to sperm/ovary banks to solve their dilemma.

    The fact that people want to trace the sperm and force an unknowing "parent" of the child to pay money to support the child makes as much sense as suing the doctor for having a boy when you wanted a girl. (you may laugh, but it's probably happened).

    The point of the sperm/ovary banks is to supply the resource that is lacked by an infertile couple. The reason people are usually not afraid to donate, is the fact that they are not held responsible for the children that are produced via their sperm/ovaries.

    However, I don't understand the donations either: What if your biological children unbewittingly married your other biological children. Ugh.
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  4. #4
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    I would never donate sperm because I think that it is like adultery. I would rather want to adopt a child than use another mans sperm.
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  5. #5
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    It was some other mans sperm that made that adopted child......There are lots of women/couples this could effect because if a woman can carry a child that is a gift she should get to use if she can. It has nothing to do with selling a child, sperm banks are in place for couples that can't get pregnant. My sister and brother in law are having horrible issues getting pregnant and this is could be an option for them so their child does at least have half of the genes of their parents. Some warped logic by thinking it is selling children, it is a gift to those that cannot do it without help.

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by Bakie
    I would never donate sperm because I think that it is like adultery. I would rather want to adopt a child than use another mans sperm.
    What's the difference? If anything, choosing specific sperm from a sperm bank allows you to choose the profile of the person from whom the sperm originated, as well as allowing the mother (your potential wife) to use her own eggs; thus, the baby will be much more like you and your wife, and is less likely to have potential issues.

  7. #7
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    $50 a shot? Damn, I'd be working 7 days a week....
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  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Philipf
    $50 a shot? Damn, I'd be working 7 days a week....

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by J-P
    I don't understand how for $50 you can sell a son or daughter. I just wouldn't be able to live after doing such a thing knowing that I could have kids that I will never get to see.
    My thoughts exactly.

  10. #10
    Whats this world coming to...

    I dont think I'd ever donate sperm for a quick $50 bucks. If I was unable to produce, I'd say adopt, theres many kids that need a home.

  11. #11
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    Wow, that's shocking. The poor guy.

    It's like those girls who say they're on the pill, but they're not...

  12. #12
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    I would donate some for $50 so long as I didn't have to pay anything for the child.

    I think if you donate sperm thats it you get your $50 and shouldnt have to worry about anything else.
    ...loading

  13. #13
    Thats the way its suppost to work, you should be able to donate without worrying about child support.

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Psybadek
    Whats this world coming to...

    I dont think I'd ever donate sperm for a quick $50 bucks. If I was unable to produce, I'd say adopt, theres many kids that need a home.
    not to go off topic, but I just find your statement a little contradicting. If you support adoption, why not just adopt instead of producing another baby?

    It's the same for infertile parents. They want their own flesh and blood (or close to it) like you and me.
    remy

  15. #15
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    I really do not see anything wrong with selling your sperm to anyone. There are millions of people who can't get pregnant on their own. 1 out of 2 is not bad numbers.

    I am pretty sure just about everyone against it, is due to religious "values" and nothing else. But that is your choice, not everyone elses.
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  16. #16
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    Although I'm not against donating sperm, what would you do if your son/daughter tracked you down and turned up on your doorstep one day? Ultimately they would have come from you and you may have missed a major part of their lives, I don't think I could live with that. Having said that I have respect for those who can as they are giving another family the chance of having children.

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by sandanista
    Although I'm not against donating sperm, what would you do if your son/daughter tracked you down and turned up on your doorstep one day? Ultimately they would have come from you and you may have missed a major part of their lives, I don't think I could live with that. Having said that I have respect for those who can as they are giving another family the chance of having children.
    Uh... just because you are the biological father of someone doesn't mean anything. You have absolutely no obligation -- societally or morally -- to take in or even help that person, as, in all likelihood, you did not raise or even meet them when they were little. Donating biochemical substances to a child is much different than actually raising said, wouldn't you agree?

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by J-P
    I don't understand how for $50 you can sell a son or daughter. I just wouldn't be able to live after doing such a thing knowing that I could have kids that I will never get to see.
    I have never donated to a sperm bank although I dare say I have a few children running around that I don't know about, due to the fact I have donated a lot of sperm, usually after a drinking spree at one or many pubs.

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  19. #19
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    Thank the lord there isn't any little kerrys running around. Otherwise, the world wouldn't be very safe.
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  20. #20
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    If I was a man then I would donate sperm just to make money. I wonder how many bucks I can make in 10 weeks if I donate sperm for 50 buck a day?
    Rich!

    New flash! Help bring a child into this world...pay back the money and much more.

  21. #21
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    Originally posted by SniperDevil
    Uh... just because you are the biological father of someone doesn't mean anything. You have absolutely no obligation -- societally or morally -- to take in or even help that person, as, in all likelihood, you did not raise or even meet them when they were little. Donating biochemical substances to a child is much different than actually raising said, wouldn't you agree?
    Yes, however, if that child turned up on my doorstep oneday I can't guarantee that I wouldn't feel responsible for them morally. I'm for the principle of donating sperm but I don't think its something that I could personally do.

  22. #22
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    I wouldn't turn them away, I would actually see who they were and what they became. You gave that child's mother a gift and even though the kid came up in a different type of home it doesn't make them any less of a human.

    Adopting is a great idea if a couple has exhausted every option there is for them to have a child with some of their DNA in him/her.

  23. #23
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    Originally posted by Philipf
    $50 a shot? Damn, I'd be working 7 days a week....
    I was just adding up how much money I wasted in my teens... There were days I coulda put $200 or more in the bank without leaving the house

    Hahaha ok ok kick me I'm a bad boy.
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  24. #24
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    Originally posted by sandanista
    Although I'm not against donating sperm, what would you do if your son/daughter tracked you down and turned up on your doorstep one day? Ultimately they would have come from you and you may have missed a major part of their lives, I don't think I could live with that. Having said that I have respect for those who can as they are giving another family the chance of having children.
    Well if they went through all that trouble I'd know for one thing, it probably is my kid, since they obviously have my stubborn gene... But heck what would you do? Why invite 'em in and let 'em know what they want to know, I wouldn't turn 'em away or nothing. If they want that badly to meet me then that's cool.
    Gary Harris - the artist formerly known as Dixiesys
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  25. #25
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    wow - a new career for peewee herman. heeeheeeheee I meant to do that .....takes on a whole new meaning.
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  26. #26
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    what would you do if your son/daughter tracked you down and turned up on your doorstep one day?
    I would sit down with the person, and let them ask me whatever questions they had.

    If they got my address from the sperm bank, i would sue the sperm bank for breach of privacy.

  27. #27
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    Hmmmm I'm going to register spermshack.net, spermatrix.com and spermglobal.com just in case
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  28. #28
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    Originally posted by Dixiesys
    I was just adding up how much money I wasted in my teens... There were days I coulda put $200 or more in the bank without leaving the house

    Hahaha ok ok kick me I'm a bad boy.
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