PA Supreme Court Reverses Sperm Donor Child Support Ruling

Men who donate sperm to women who promise they won't have to pay child support don't have to worry about the women renegging in part due to today's 3-2 decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (365gay).

The 3-2 decision overturns lower court rulings under which Joel L. McKiernan had been paying up to $1,500 a month to support twin boys born in August 1994 to Ivonne V. Ferguson, his former girlfriend and co-worker.

“Where a would-be donor cannot trust that he is safe from a future support action, he will be considerably less likely to provide his sperm to a friend or acquaintance who asks, significantly limiting a would-be mother's reproductive prerogatives,” Justice Max Baer wrote in the majority opinion issued last week.

Arthur Caplan, chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said the decision runs counter to the pattern established by similar cases, where the interests of the progeny have generally been given great weight.

“It sounds like the Pennsylvania court is trying to push a little harder into the brave new world of sperm, egg and embryo donation as it's evolving,” Caplan said.

The lower court ruling would have had a chilling effect on sperm donations, argued the lawyers for McKiernan.

Impact for our community?  Certainly one for lesbians and other gay women who utilize sperm donors to conceive children (and take legal precautions).  Also, for gay men who donate so another may parent a child. 

This is Pennsylvania, after all, land where the legislators try to say who can utilize surrogates and who can't.  Guess who falls into the those who can't category? 

But I'm of the opinion that a few more folks interested in adopting children right here in our fair Commonwealth rather than going overseas or spending $50,000 on IVF would be a win win for everyone.