Do Sperm Donors Have Parental Rights?

Known as the heartthrob of the 1987 vampire flick Lost Boys, actor Jason Patric wants to be known as a dad to a child named Gus.

Danielle Schreiber and Jason Patric were romantically involved for over a decade. Their on-again, off-again relationship included a period where they attempted to become pregnant but did not succeed. The couple ultimately broke up on good terms.

After they split, Mr. Patric offered his sperm to Ms. Schreiber on the conditions that she not ask for child support and that he would remain anonymous if the pregnancy was successful. Ms. Schreiber became pregnant and gave birth to her son, Gus.

The story continues:

  • In 2011, the couple tried to reconcile and Mr. Patric became emotionally attached to Gus.
  • When the reconciliation failed, Mr. Patric filed for shared custody with Ms. Schreiber.
  • Under California law, an unmarried man who assists an unmarried woman conceive through the use of a physician does not have parental rights. The law protects women who seek to raise their children independently of sperm donors.
  • Ms. Schreiber willingly gave Mr. Patric time with Gus but balks at sharing parental rights and responsibilities.

In February of last year, a California court agreed with Ms. Schreiber. On appeal, the California Court of Appeal for Los Angeles County ruled in May of this year that Mr. Patric has a right to establish he is the presumed father of Gus.

In California, this means Mr. Patric must prove he “receives the child into his or her home and openly holds out the child as his or her natural child.”

This interesting case has implications for parental rights for those who use assisted-reproductive technologies.

When you have questions in New York about custody or father's rights, seek experienced legal counsel in Long Island. Contact Bryan L. Salamone and Associates, P.C.

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