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California same-sex family law challenged by sperm donor

With family laws related to same-sex unions varying from state to state, many legal issues remain unresolved. Same-sex couples that are in disputes that involve two states with different same-sex laws will likely remain in limbo until more uniformity is reached. A lesbian mother in another state is currently fighting a child custody battle because that state's same-sex family law about sperm donors differs from the law in California where the In Vitro fertilization procedure was performed.

The woman accepted an offer from a gay Los Angeles man to act as a sperm donor and traveled to California for the procedure of In Vitro fertilization. After the birth of a child in 2004, she also had twins in 2007. The sperm donor of all three children had signed a contract, crafted by the California company that made the sperm donation and In Vitro process possible. According to the contract, the donor has no parental rights. It was reported that the donor visited the children occasionally, but his visitation rights were suspended after a Child Protective Services investigation.

This suspension led to the man now seeking custody of the children. The mother claims the protection of the contract signed in California while the biological father claims that the contract is not enforceable under Michigan laws where the mother and children reside. Michigan has no laws related to sperm donors and their legal rights, and as the children were born to unmarried biological parents, the father has the right to claim paternity.

California couples that are in a same-sex marriage may want to consider unanticipated legal issues before deciding on the method they will use to build a family. While they may be protected under California laws, the eventuality of relocation to a state where same-sex marriages are not recognized should not be ignored. An experienced same-sex family law attorney will provide the relevant information related to the legalities of the various options available that will protect their legal rights in all states.

Source:, "Lesbian Fights For Custody Rights Of Children", AJ Trager, Jan. 15, 2015

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