Friday, January 4th, 2013
William Marotta, a Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple who now has a 3-year-old daughter, is fighting the state’s efforts to get him to pay child support after the couple broke up and the child’s care is being partially provided by state programs. More from The Huffington Post:
The case hinges on the fact that no doctors were used for the artificial insemination. The state argues that because William Marotta didn’t work through a clinic or doctor, as required by state law, he can be held responsible for about $6,000 that the child’s biological mother received through public assistance – as well as future child support.
Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, said that when a single mother seeks benefits for a child, it’s routine for the department to try to determine the child’s paternity and require the father to make support payments to lessen the potential cost to taxpayers.
Marotta, a 46-year-old Topeka resident, answered an online ad in 2009 from a local couple, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, who said they were seeking a sperm donor. After exchanging emails and meeting, the three signed an agreement relieving Marotta of any financial or paternal responsibility.
But instead of working with a doctor, Marotta agreed to drop off a container with his sperm at the couple’s home and the women successfully handled the artificial insemination themselves. Schreiner become pregnant with a girl.
Late last year, after she and Bauer broke up, Schreiner received public assistance from the state to help care for the girl.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families filed a court petition against Marotta in October, asking that he be required to reimburse the state for the benefits and make future child support payments. Marotta is asking that the case be dismissed, arguing that he’s not legally the child’s father, only a sperm donor.
Image: Legal paperwork, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, April 12th, 2012
The owner of a British fertility clinic may have used his sperm to father 600 children from the 1940s to 1960s, a study relying on DNA testing has shown. The London Telegraph reports:
Bertold Wiesner and his wife Mary Barton founded a fertility clinic in London in the 1940s and helped women conceive 1,500 babies.
It was thought that the clinic used a small number of highly intelligent friends as sperm donors but it has now emerged that around 600 of the babies were conceived using sperm from Mr Wiesner himself.
Two men conceived at the clinic, Barry Stevens a film-maker from Canada and David Gollancz, a barrister in London, have researched the centre and DNA tests suggest Mr Wiesner, an Austrian biologist, provided two thirds of the donated sperm.
Such a practice is outlawed now but at the time it was not known that Mr Wiesner was providing the majority of the samples.
The same sperm donor should not be used to create so many children because of the risk that two of the offpsring will unwittingly meet and start a family of their own, which could cause serious genetic problems in their children.
Image: Lab pipette, via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, January 5th, 2012
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in every 30 babies born in America in 2009 was a twin, a sharp rise from the 1 in 53 statistic from 1980. Researchers attribute the rise to two main factors–a rise in the number of assisted reproductive technologies, such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, and women waiting until they are over 30 to start their families, both of which are known to statistically increase the likelihood of twin pregnancies.
As many as one-third of twins are born to women over 30 but under 40, Joyce Martin, an epidemiologist who co-authored the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, told The Associated Press. The rest of the increase is due to the wide use of fertility treatments. From the AP:
“You have a double whammy going on. There are more older moms and more widespread use of fertility-enhancing therapies,” Martin said.
Starting in the early 1980s, couples who had trouble conceiving began to benefit from medical advances like fertility drugs and in vitro fertilization and other procedures. These treatments became fairly widespread in the 1990s but are expensive, and availability and insurance coverage varies.
The twin birth rate rose by more than 2 percent a year, on average, from 1980 through 2004. It leveled off to less than 1 percent annually although the rise from 2008 to 2009 was nearly 2 percent.
In 2009, twin rates increased in all 50 states, though the jumps were highest in lower New England, New Jersey and Hawaii. In Connecticut, twins now account for nearly 5 percent of births.
That’s high. Nationally, 3.3 percent of all births were twins in 2009, up from 2 percent in 1980.
Over the last three decades, rates rose for white, black and Hispanic women, but the increases were not uniform. Rates doubled for whites, rose by half for blacks and by about a third for Hispanics. Historically, black moms have twins most often, but white moms have almost caught up.
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“That’s changed with infertility treatments,” said Barbara Luke, a Michigan State University expert on twin births.
Image: Twin babies, via Shutterstock.