Jewish World Review Jan 14, 2013/ 3 Shevat, 5773
Who's your daddy? Or in this case, who's your donor?
By Mitch Albom
"That can't be right," I said.
It wasn't. Actually, the government was chasing the sperm donor for child support.
Sound crazy? Read on. The lesbian couple split up after the child was born. The mother -- by that I mean the partner who carried the child -- lost her job and applied for public assistance to help pay for her little girl. The state of
Next thing you know, the Baby Daddy Donor gets a phone call from the state, telling him he owes
But apparently because they didn't go through a licensed physician, none of it mattered. As far as the state was concerned, somebody was the father. And the father is on the line when a kid's needs are at stake.
And thus does a guy named
Now, I don't want to pass judgment on this case, largely because I don't fully understand this case. The lesbians live in a state that obviously allows two women to raise a child together, yet, in at least some cases, does not recognize two women as adequate for financial responsibility.
Had Marotta and the couple worked through a licensed doctor, then somehow the state would not hold him responsible. The idea is obviously to make artificial insemination a more government-monitored activity.
But while that may help clarify things, can it really be the difference between a lifetime of responsibility or not? Either sperm makes you a father or it doesn't. The fact that he handed off his "legacy" to a certain doctor first seems a pretty thin pencil with which to draw a line.
But then the lines are already fuzzy. I don't mean to sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but let's consider this story through how it would be viewed 50 years ago, in 1963.
An out-in-the-open lesbian couple (hardly common) goes to
And you wonder why people are nostalgic.
I knew a guy a few years ago who had a baby with a woman. He was happy to be a father. Overjoyed, really. Then he discovered he was not the biological dad, that the woman had misled him. Nonetheless, largely because his name was on the birth certificate, he was responsible for the costs of the child. It took a long time to legally untangle that mess.
The thinking there -- and to some degree the thinking in the
But let's admit it. When it comes to families, we are all over the map now. We've created a country where marriage varies from state to state, where insemination rules vary from state to state, where two men, two women, one of each or just one constitute a parental unit, where you can advertise to create a child, advertise to carry a child, advertise to adopt a child, yet insist that a man's seed is connected to his bank account.
I don't know what will happen in the Marotta case. I suspect it may reach the
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