Being A Father…
The Australian High Court recently ruled that a sperm donor should enjoy the legal right to claim fatherhood of a child!
While delivering the verdict of a case involving an 11-year-old girl over the weekend, the Australian Court clearly stated that “the sperm donor has played an important role in that girl’s life, and the role could not be denied“! The biological mother of the girl and her ‘wife’ decided to settle in neighbouring New Zealand. However, the girl’s biological father or the sperm donor did not accept the mother’s decision and moved a local court. As the local court’s verdict went against him, the person challenged the verdict at High Court. The High Court reconsidered his appeal and made clear that the sperm donor should be considered as the ‘real father’ of the girl! So, he has every right to express his opinion about his daughter’s future…
The judgement clearly stated: “To characterise the biological father of a child as a ‘sperm donor’ suggests that the man in question has relevantly done no more than provide his semen to facilitate an artificial conception procedure on the basis of an express or implied understanding that he is thereafter to have nothing to do with any child born as a result of the procedure. Those are not the facts of this case.”
The man’s advocate, Tahlia Bleier, said that her client was elated after a five-year battle for recognition, stressing: “The ruling was also meaningful for every father out there that has decided to raise a child with a friend as opposed to a romantic partner.”
It is to be noted that the 49-year-old man and the child’s mother, who was single at the time, were friends in 2006 when he decided to donate his semen. They also decided to raise the child together. However, the pair had a falling out later and the mother decided to move to New Zealand with her daughter. Although the woman’s lawyers argued that he was not the father, the man was identified as a parent on the girl’s birth certificate and the girl called him ‘Daddy’!
Family Law Professor at La Trobe University Fiona Kelly has welcomed the verdict, saying that the judgement has made clear legally that a man, who has donated sperm to a single woman and has a role in the child’s life, may be a parent. At the same time, Professor Kelly admitted that the decision did not address the level of involvement required, thus, “opening the door for other scenarios”!
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