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Is it possible for a sperm donor to have parental rights?

With today's advances in reproductive technologies, in-vitro fertilization is no longer futuristic. Michigan residents may find it fascinating to learn that many parents who are unable to conceive a child through natural means can now have a biological child through in-vitro fertilization. Science surrounding such options for people has tremendously progressed. However, the legal ramifications of such technologies on parental rights, custody, support and more is still very new.

Michigan residents may find it interesting to learn that recently in a case involving actor Jason Patric, a California appellate court reversed a lower court's decision that had ruled that Patric, who was a sperm donor, did not have parental rights over a child conceived through in-vitro fertilization. According to media reports, Patric and the mother of his child dated for about a decade before deciding to go their separate ways about two years ago, in 2012. However, a few years prior to the couple's break-up, Patric had donated his sperm so that the woman could have a child. A boy was conceived in 2009.

Following their split in 2012, Patric filed a paternity claim in court. However, the mother of his child insisted that he was only a sperm donor and nothing more, while Patric claimed that he had been co-parenting the child with her. Initially, a judge presiding over the paternity claim dismissed it, noting that the couple was not married when the child was conceived and that they did not have a co-parenting agreement. Presently, according to reports, the child is with his mother, and Patric has been prevented from visiting or seeing him for over a year.

This case of parental rights for a sperm donor is expected to go before a judge soon and some in the legal community believe that he may have a good chance of getting parental rights, since the mother of his child allowed him to have a relationship with child prior to their break-up and before the legal dispute ensued.

As reproductive technologies improve and more children are conceived through such means, parental rights may come up. The legal issues surrounding this topic can get complex. It may be helpful for anyone interested in in-vitro fertilization options and its legal implications to contact a family law attorney for more information.

Source: People, "Jason Patric Wins Appeal of Custody Ruling Over His Biological Child," Ken Lee, May 14, 2014

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