A Topeka, KS, man thought he was doing a lesbian couple a favor by donating sperm in 2009, but now the donor could have to pay thousands in child support.
William Marotta said he's willing to fight this battle against the state, despite it already costing him a lot of money.
"It's adding up quickly in a very short time span. I've spent more than 10 percent of what I make in a year," Marotta said.
In 2009 he replied to a Craigslist ad offering to pay $50 to a sperm donor. He decided to donate his sperm for free to the lesbian couple who placed the ad – Angie Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner.
"I got the letter from the Kansas Department of Services I think in October and it basically started there," Marotta said.
Marotta and the two women signed an agreement they believed released him from all parental duties. But the state argues the agreement is invalid because they didn't go through a doctor for the artificial insemination.
Kansas law says a doctor's involvement shields a man from being held responsible for a child conceived through the procedure. The state says at least 10 other states have similar laws.
But the Kansas Department for Children and Families argues the agreement isn't valid, because instead of working with a doctor, Marotta agreed to drop off containers with his sperm at the couple's home, according to documents faxed to the Shawnee County District Court late Wednesday.
The women handled the artificial insemination themselves using a syringe, and Schreiner eventually became pregnant, according to the documents.
"I signed a document between Angie, Jennifer that, to me, for all intensive purposes, is a contract that says, ‘look I'm giving up parental rights,'" Marotta said.
Late last year, after she and Bauer broke up, Schreiner received public assistance from the state to help care for the girl.
Marotta believes the state pressured Schreiner, the biological mother of the 3-year-old girl, into giving up his name
The state says Marotta, who lives in Topeka, can be held responsible for about $6,000 that the child's biological mother received through public assistance as well as future child support.
"What basically started it I think was Jennifer (Schreiner) filing for public assistance. So the state of Kansas is giving her money and then there's things in place that say, ‘OK, we need to recover this money' and they decided that was me," Marotta said.
The state hasn't returned any calls to KCTV, but Marotta believes he may be setting a precedent by taking his fight through court.
"Some people have said, ‘why don't you just pay the child support, it'd probably be cheaper?' Well, it might be cheaper in the short run but, if I do that, what am I responsible for the next 15 years," Marotta asked.
Under a 1994 Kansas law, a sperm donor isn't considered the father only when a donor provides sperm to a licensed physician for artificial insemination of a woman who isn't the donor's wife. Also, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October 2007 that a sperm donor who works through a licensed physician can't legally be considered a child's father -- and doesn't have the right to visit the child or have a role in its upbringing -- absent a formal, written agreement. But the case involved a sperm donor who was seeking access to a child and had only an informal, unwritten agreement with the child's mother.
Marotta will be in court next Tuesday. His attorneys have filed a motion to have his case dismissed.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (MeredithCorp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.