- Associated Press - Thursday, January 3, 2013

The department first filed a petition against Mr. Marotta in Shawnee County District Court in October, asking that he be required to reimburse the state for the benefits and make future child support payments.

Along with the 1994 law regarding artificial insemination, the department cited a 2007 Kansas Supreme Court ruling. In that case, the court decided 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 or help raise the child — absent a formal, written agreement.

However, that case involved a sperm donor who was seeking access to a child but had only an informal, unwritten agreement with the child’s mother. Mr. Marotta’s attorneys contend the state is reading it incorrectly.

Still, Linda Elrod, a law professor and director of Washburn University’s Children and Family Law program, said the law seems clear: Sperm donors who don’t want to be held liable for child support need to work with a doctor.

“Other than that, the general rule is strict liability for sperm,” said Ms. Elrod, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the state Supreme Court case.