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Sperm donor considered legal parent

Sperm Donor Considered Legal Parent

Yesterday, the High Court handed down a judgement that a sperm donor from Newcastle NSW, known as *Robert, is a legal parent of a girl conceived from his genetic material.

Click here to read our earlier article which provides a summary of the litigation to date.

The High Court of Australia considered the relationship and operation between federal and state legislation as it relates to parentage of children.

The High Court of Australia said, “[T]he Family Law Act proceeds from the premise that the word “parent” refers to a parent within the ordinary meaning of that word except when and if an applicable provision of the Family Law Act otherwise provides“.

The Respondents argued that the ordinary meaning of “parent” does not include a “sperm donor”.

Each case is to be decided on its specific facts

The facts of this case were that Robert provided his genetic material with the intention that a child would be conceived, he was noted on the child’s birth certificate as a parent and had a role in the child’s life – spending regular time with the child and identified to the child as her father.

The High Court made it clear that, “It is not necessary to decide whether a man who relevantly does no more than provide his semen to facilitate an artificial conception procedure that results in the birth of a child falls within the ordinary accepted meaning of the word “parent”“.

The result of the Orders made by the High Court of Australia are that previous Orders from 2017 are back in operation which provided in part for Robert to spend time with the child and be notified of, and express his views to be considered by *Susan and *Margaret, on long term decisions for the child.

Yesterday’s decision will no doubt raise issues for both men and women who may be considering embarking on a sperm donor arrangement with someone they know. Questions about parental responsibility, child support and whether the donor’s name should go on the birth certificate must be carefully considered by all parties.

*Pseudonyms were given to all parties

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