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Artificial insemination users may have no rights

Florida residents may be interested in a dispute that has arisen between actor Jason Patric and his former girlfriend. Patric claims that he fathered a child with his ex-girlfriend and that he has paternal rights. The mother claims that he was merely a sperm donor. The case has led some states to consider a change in laws relating to sperm donor rights.

In 2009, Patric and his girlfriend, both in their 40s, agreed to conceive a child through artificial insemination. They were previously unsuccessful in attempting to conceive naturally. For more than two years, Patric had regular contact with his son. After Patric and the mother broke up, the actor filed to establish paternity. In Feb. 2013, a judge denied his request. Patric is now seeking to have the law changed.

California law states that a sperm donor has no parental rights unless the parents are married at the time of conception or they sign a written agreement that grants rights to the donor. As a result, a state senator has introduced a bill that would allow sperm donors to obtain parental rights if the biological father establishes a parental relationship with the child. The law would not give parental responsibilities to a sperm donor that never sought a relationship with the child. Mothers are protected because they must consent to the initial parental relationship. Opponents of the law are concerned that it would stop lesbian couples, infertile men and single mothers from seeking sperm donations from someone with whom they have a pre-established relationship.

A lawyer may be able to help establish the rights and responsibilities of each party for unmarried partners who have a child. That may include seeking a DNA test, negotiating a parenting plan or setting up child support.

Source: Huffington Post, "Jason Patric Inspires Controversial Legislation Over Sperm Donor Parental Rights", August 13, 2013