Should Sperm Donors Have Visitation Rights?
In a possibly precedential case, slated to be heard by the New Jersey Appellate Decision, the rights of a sperm donor who donated sperm to a same sex couple in New Jersey may be upheld.
Sheena and Tiara Yates, married in May of 2014, had a son in June of 2013 as the result of an at-home, physician-approved artificial insemination procedure. The man who donated that sperm has filed for parenting time rights with the child.
The laws in New Jersey covering this area are a bit confusing. The law states that “only when the insemination process is carried out under the direct supervision of a physician, can the non-biological parent be legally considered the natural parent of the child. The law also protects the donor from having any “rights or duties stemming from the conception of the child.”
This was the case, here. So why was the sperm donor in this matter, granted visitation rights by the state court in Salem County late last year? In the appeal, the couple argue that how and/or where the child was conceived should not be relevant to the donor having parenting time with the child. They also hope that the fact that they are now a married couple will influence the Appellate Court that they have a strong, legally recognized union.
John Keating, the attorney representing the Yateses, was quoted in NJ.com as stating, “We think it’s important the appellate division make a decision. Our purpose here is for other couples not to go through this. They set out to start a family together, and they did what they thought was the right thing,” he said.
What do you think? Should sperm and/or egg donors be afforded visitation rights with the children they assisted in creating? Or, should the couple whom is raising the child as the child’s parents make that decision?