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I donated sperm, am i the legal father of the child?

I donated sperm, am I the legal father of the child?

Monday 24th of June 2019
By: Harry Higgs, Solicitor, Coote Family Lawyers

I thank you with great warmth for the part you have played in contributing to this restoration of justice and ongoing recovery of my health and myself.

A recent decision by the High Court of Australia has ruled that a sperm donor is the legal father of a child, enabling him to prevent the child and her mother from moving overseas.

In the case of Masson v Parsons [2019] HCA 21 it was held that the father was more than a sperm donor and ought to be recognised as the child’s legal parent.

The High Court determined that:

  1. At the time the donor was asked to provide sperm he did so on the understanding he was “fathering a child and that he would, as the child’s parent, support and care for her.”[1]; 
  1. The father and the child had enjoyed a close relationship with the father being actively involved in the child’s life.; and 
  1. The father was listed on the child’s birth certificate.

The Court stated “to characterise the biological father of a child as a “sperm donor” suggests that the man in question has relevantly done no more than provide his semen to facilitate an artificial conception procedure on the basis…he is thereafter to have nothing more to do with any child born as a result…”[2]

The Court found that in this case, to characterise the father as a “sperm donor” rather than a parent would be to ignore all of the facts and circumstances of the insemination and the father’s relationship with the child.

If you are a sperm donor considering your rights as a parent, Coote Family Lawyers can provide you with specialised advice.

[1] Masson v Parsons [2019] HCA 21 at 3

[2] Masson v Parsons [2019] HCA 21 at 54

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