As technological advances bring along new opportunities, they also bring with them personal and legal complexities that our ancestors could likely have never imagined. Texas recently spoke to such an issue when it handed down a ruling regarding whether a man who donated sperm to a woman he knew for childbearing purposes could be legally considered the father of the child and seek parental rights.
The short answer is yes. However, to simply leave it there does a disservice to the court's decision and to the contributing factors that lead to the ruling. Parentage is a complicated matter, and the details all matter.
In this particular case, the mother of the child was a lesbian who approached her friend about donating sperm to her for the purposes of conceiving a child. The two had known each other for a significant amount of time and had even been roommates for a while. While the two were never sexually intimate, they were certainly not strangers. Furthermore, the mother provided the man with sterile cups for collecting the sperm, and did not involve any third-party medical personnel. While they were never a couple by any means, they knew each other well.
While the mother expected that the child would remain solely her own to raise, the man who donated his sperm wanted to have a more parental role in the child's life, and sought parental privileges. In cases like these, states often rule in the favor the mother, but this time determined that the many very personal factors of the scenario were enough to warrant father's rights for the man.
If you have a parentage claim, it is a noble and complicated task to pursue father's rights. The guidance of an experienced attorney can help you evaluate your situation and understand all the contributing factors that may affect your chances at successfully pursuing parental rights.
Source: Justia, "Friends with Benefits: Texas Man Who Donated Sperm to a Friend Has Parental Rights," Joanna L. Grossman, Nov. 29, 2016