Child Support and the Stolen Sperm

From this story (free registration required).

The story in short:

In 1997, Deon Francois and his wife Chaamel were married. After five years of trying to conceive a child, the couple went to NYU medical center for help. Deon gave a sperm sample in July 2002. However, before the process could be started, the couple split up in April 2003.

In December 2003, Chaamel presented a notarized release to NYU and underwent in-vitro fertilization. A daughter, Nazir, was born in November 2004.

Deon claims that his signature on the release was forged. The notary claims that Chaamel stole his seal. She claims that Deon knew she was going forward with their efforts to have a child.

After the child was born, Deon was ordered to pay $400 a week in child support payments.

Deon has asked that criminal charges for the forgery not be pressed against his wife.

Deon is now suing his wife, the notary, and NYU, who, he claims, should have destroyed the sperm when he stopped making storage payments. (He claims that his wife kept up the payments until the in-vitro fertilization).

End of story- so far.

Now, there is no question that this man is the father of this child. However, there is the question of whether or not his sperm was used without his consent.

We all know the general principle of “you play, you pay” that goes into the child-creation business. It makes no difference if you thought she was on the pill, if you were protected, etc. – if you “play” and create a child, you pay.

However, I’m wondering if there should be a “staute of limitations” to the “you play…” rule. What if she had kept the sperm 10 years? How long do we allow a man to be held “hostage” to the whims of the person in custody of the sperm?

On the other hand, you can say that the child is here now, and so, the child needs to be supported, regardless of how it comes into the world. In one sense, that’s true, of course. But traditionally, we only require a father to provide support because he had a hand (so to speak) in the creation of the child. But what if his role was peripheral at best? What if he had no control in the creation of this child?
Should there be a point in time at which a man can look back and be beyond the “statue of limitations” for a child that he had no direct part in creating?

Zev Steinhardt

I say, yeah, the sperm was his. The fact that he stopped paying the storage fee, that means he gave up his ownership (and obligation) as simply as I do when I flush the toilet (:)).

I’d say this story is about a man’s right to choose. At one time, he chose to procreate with his wife by submitting sperm to be used in-vitro. Upon divorce, he chose to forfeit the procreation by stopping payment on the sperm storage.

You could say that while they were married, the sperm was theirs, but unless he specifically (and I would say in writing) gave consent for his ex-wife to use his sperm, she stole it. She shouldn’t simply be able to take over payments of the sperm storage and be able to claim sperm ownership. A man’s gotta have some rights over the procreative process, especially when the process itself involves laws and regulations, and not just good ol’ fashioned bonking.

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Personally, I don’t feel he has to pay child support. This woman forged his name on the consent papers. Had he been asked to sign them himself, I’m sure he would had said no, and therefore he did not consent for his sperm to be used at that time (and just because he at one point in the pasy may have consented, that holds no barring now. If someone says yes to sex once, that doesn’t mean that same person can’t rape them later in life. Consent is a instance-by-instance issue.) If a man’s sperm is used against his will to conceive a child, he no longer should have any responsibilities towards the child.

While the child does need to get that extra money to be raised right (well, right now we’ll assume it does. $400 a week seems a bit much to me…) so where does the money comes from? It’s wrong to punich the child for something wrong the mother did, so should taxpayers foot the bill? Should NYU pay for it all, since, according to Francois, they should have destroyed the sample?

It’s a hrd case, and I’m glad I don’t have to be the judge for it, because while I do feel Francois isn’t responsible, I can’t clearly say who is, besides Chaamel. And it’s not like we can get her to magically get money to give to herself for her child.

Althoguh the one part I do find against Francois is that he says he wants to be a part of the child’s life. Here’s where I start to think, “well, either she’s your shild, and you get to play with er and so forth, and have to pay child support, or she’s not, and you don’t have to do either. You can’t have the good without the bad”

But then, if his law suit goes throguh and he wins, he’ll have the money to pay child support and can see his child. But are we to let him wait until he decides to be a prt fo her life? Althoguh since a judge ruled he has to keep apying child support, from his point of view he might as well decide to be in her life, since he probably can’t get out of paying.

Right or wrong, the courts have established that female rapists can get child support as easily as anyone else. I’m not sure I agree with that, but the Court’s sole principle is to ensure a financially secure livelihood for the child in as much as possible, regardless of the circumstances.

The woman unilaterally chose to engage in the actions to create the child, so in my not-terrifically-humble opinion she should get the honor of paying for the child, entirely, fully, and by herself. Putting the sperm into external storage didn’t instigate the ‘conception’, any more than merely creating them in-testicle did. As he did nothing (and agreed to nothing) that could possibly develop into a child without further deliberate interference, then he shouldn’t be held accountable in the slightest (unless he chooses to be).

Just my opinion. IANAL, etcetera.

Oh, and as for the problem of paying for the child… This Chaamel certiainly deserves the obligation. If she did all this with the deliberate intention of gouging Deon for funds, then she should be shot… adoptive parents would probably serve as a better example to the kid. The same applies to any of those female rapists mentioned, as well as the psycotics who put the laws in place supporting such entrapment.

IMO, just as a woman should not need a husband’s consent to get an abortion, a man should have exclusive control over his stored sperm samples. If he tells the fertility center to destroy them (and he should do so as soon as he realizes he no longer wants to try to conceive a child with his wife), then his wife should have no say in the matter.

Oh, and people should not commit forgery or trap other people into unwanted obligations. If a child is actually born as a result of such wrongdoing, though, I’m not sure I see what the courts can do other than require its parents to support it.

Similarly, a man should not physically prevent a woman he’s impregnated from getting an abortion. But if he does manage to do so until she’s into her third trimester, then the law requires her to carry the baby to term, give birth to it, and pay child support for it. And she’s got to put up with that.

Oh, and I don’t think any coercion or fraud of this sort, bad as it is, really warrants summary execution by shooting.

I can foresee this sort of reasoning becoming a big, big problem in the near future. Cloning still requires genetic material- what happens when some woman decides to find some sample of, say, Bill Gates’ DNA, and gets some back-alley geneticist to get her pregnant with it?

Cha-ching. All of a sudden her child is entitled to 20% or so of Gates’ income.

Of course, it may take this kind of high-profile, high-money, high-paid-lawyer case to resolve this type of loophole.

If the story is as reported, the mother should be responsible for the support. That said, he should have have the sample destroyed when they separated, rather than just stopped payment.

Still, I wonder if there’s more to the story than just his lawsuit. If she did forge his name, why wouldn’t he have her prosecuted. I would think that would help his cause.

I think an appropriate thing to do in such a case is to award custody to the father (if he asks for it), and force the mother to pay child support.

Exactly zero seconds. It’s a friggin’ outrage that this man is being forced to pay for a child he had no hand in creating - and that goes for the rape victims smiling bandit mentioned too.

The obligation (and the custody and other parental rights) should be entirely Chaamel’s. If she can steal this guy’s sperm and create a financial obligation for him without his consent, what’s next? Stealing a “soiled” sock out of someone’s laundry basket, reviving a few dried-out sperm from it, and going to town?

She can get money the same way anyone else would when the father can’t be involved. If Deon had died, penniless, the day after Chaamel conceived, what would she do? Get a better job, go on public assistance, or give the child up to be adopted by someone who afford to raise it. She can still do all those things now.

The man in this case is only a “parent” in the strictest biological sense of the word. If he had donated his sperm to a sperm bank, rather than giving a sample at a fertility clinic, the mother would be in pretty much the same situation, but he’d be in the clear - biology itself doesn’t always create a financial obligation.

If a child is conceived through fraud or crime, the parent who committed the fraud or crime should lose parental rights, the child becomes a ward of the state (assuming the other parent doesn’t want them) and placed for adoption. I’m a big fan of bio parents raising children where possible, and this is a less than perfect solution, but I really don’t see why a parent who is the victim of crime or fraud should continue to be victimized by the state and his perpitrator when there is a solution that allows him to stop being victimized.

IANAL, and likely never will be, either.

I think this gentleman should not have to pay one penny towards this child’s support, for all the reasons everyone else has said so far. I suspect the reason the father is not prosecuting his ex for forgery etc. is because he does not want the child to end up with no parent involved in her early life due to his having worked to put mom in jail - then that little girl is completely up a creek through no fault of her own.

That mom should be 100% responsible for financially supporting the child, and the dad should be guaranteed as much or as little involvement in the child’s life as he wants (at least until the daughter is old enough to express her opinion on the matter).

Band Name!

In principle I’m against him paying child support, because this is a form of conception w/o consent. However you have to examine what is actually in the childs best interest at the end of the day and cutting off $400/month won’t make his/her life any easier.

I think the father should pay the child support. It’s massively, massively unfair to him, but it would be even more unfair to the kid if he didn’t pay. However, I don’t think the mother should go unpunished in these situations. What ought to happen is that the father pays however much child support the state deems necessary, up until the child turns eighteen. At that point, the wife is repsonsible to pay back every penny of that money, with interest, adjusted for inflation.

I also think the father should be automatically granted equal custody of the child at the very least, and all else being equal, full custody if he wants it.

What if the biological father had died or moved out of the country and was unable to pay child support… would it be OK to take that $400/month out of your paycheck, Wesley? After all, you consented to conceive that child just as much as Deon did, and that money would sure help improve his life.

Exactly. The biological father here as no financial obligation to this child.

I’m not sure I get your point. Just because I concur doesn’t mean I owe her $400. I do support things like affordable education, a living wage and universal healthcare at the expense of higher taxes (even if things will increase taxes and/or produce prices) so as a taxpayer I’m already willing to pay child support to strangers.

The point is if the kid is going to live in poverty then that is wrong. True, the baby was technically born via rape. I wont deny that, but what is the child’s best interest? Babies are born from broken condoms all the time, this is in a way the same thing.

True, his sperm was stolen and he shouldn’t feel obliged. However if that $400 actually makes a major difference in the child’s life then that should overcome the feeling of injustice.

Cite? For what possible reason would a convicted sex offender even be allowed custody of minor children, let alone force her victim to pay for her crime.