There’s been a lot of media reporting recently about the Kansas case pursing a sperm donor to establish paternity and pay child support. There, the man provided a private sperm donation to the mother of the child and her lesbian partner after responding to an ad on Craigslist. The man and two women signed a donor agreement where he relinquished all parental rights and responsibilities. The mother was a stay-at-home mother of 8 children, but when her partner became ill and unable to work, the mother applied for government assistance. This triggered the right of the Kansas state government officials to intervene and recoup the benefits paid on behalf of the child. The Kansas Department for Children and Families argues that because the man did a private donation, and not through a clinic or doctor, that the Kansas state law doesn’t protect him. Thus, Kansas argues that he should be responsible for paying child support to the state to repay the government benefits paid on behalf of the child.

Read article by Michelle Singletary Donor or daddy?
Also read article by Associated Press Kansas sperm donor fighting effort by the state to make him pay child support  and by Tim Hrenchir of the Capital Journal Topeka sperm donor: Child support case politically motivated

In Texas, the family code section 160.702 provides that a sperm donor cannot be established as the father of the child. “A donor is not a parent of a child conceived by means of assisted reproduction.” Texas law makes no distinction between private donor agreements versus those procured through a clinic or doctor. Although I would never say never, it is unlikely that the Kansas scenario could be repeated in Texas. Nonetheless, if you are considering conception through sperm or egg donation, it is best to contact a lawyer to make sure that all agreements comply with Texas law.

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.