Ann Charles, Editor and publisher
12/06/2006; 1:47:15 PM
By definition, donate means to give away freely for a good cause. Yet the Kansas Supreme Court is being asked to intervene in a case where a sperm donor is claiming parental rights for the twin children he fathered through artificial insemination.
The response of the court to this "donor" should be a resounding no.
A Kansas law written in 1994 gives no parental rights to the donor unless a written agreement is signed ahead of time. It is folly for someone who purportedly has a strong interest in fathering children to not have been fully aware of the law before donating sperm to help a friend become a mother. It is even more folly that he and the mother didn't fully discuss the implications and his involvement, considering they weren't married and had no plans to do so.
And it was particularly remiss for the mother, who is an attorney, to not initiate the conversation, knowing that friendships change over time.
But what was done at the time cannot now be changed. The only thing at issue is moving forward from this point, and depending upon the court's ruling, shoring up the legislation.
If a donor does have the right to claim parental rights, would that also mean he could eventually be sued for child support? If a donor is determined to have parental rights, how long would he have to place that claim - only within the first year, or would he be able to do so when the teenaged son looks like a reflection of himself?
There's another issue here and it's the idea that anyone who wants to bear a child should be able to. People need to grow up and realize the world does not revolve around them and their personal wants. They need to think about the ramifications for the child.
Having a child isn't like buying a car or taking on a mortgage. A child is not something to acquire simply because a person wants one. While future parents may think they can provide a loving home to a child, they must stop and think about what they are doing to the child.
How will that daughter react 15 years from now when she knows she has been the cause of years of legal battles over donated sperm? How will that son accept that half of him began in a lab tube?
Just because science allows something to happen doesn't mean that everyone who wants to take advantage of it should. Personal wants today must be balanced with the child's actual needs tomorrow.