Sperm donor wins parental rights over child
A decision handed down yesterday by the Family Court in Newcastle has confirmed the parental rights of a known sperm donor.
A lesbian couple who had planned to move to New Zealand with their children were prevented from doing so by their donor, after he filed an application in the Family Court seeking a permanent stay preventing them from moving overseas.
There were questions around whether the birth mother and her partner were in a de facto relationship at the time of conception of the child. The donor argued that they were not, and therefore, the birth mother's partner was not the other legal parent.
The donor had been listed on the child's birth certificate as the father, referred to the donor as 'Dad' and had played a parenting role to the child, now 10. The lesbian couple also have another child, 8, with a different donor.
This case confirms the decision made in Groth & Banks  that if you are not in a de facto relationship at the time of conception of a child and use a known donor who plays some role in the child's life, then that donor may obtain parental rights over the child.
The outcome of this case for lesbians who have had children with known donors is significant and if you are considering using a known donor, you should obtain legal advice on the consequences of that decision, even if you are in a de facto relationship.