Necessity of Formal Sperm Donor Agreement I KingSpry

Text Messages Will Not Do: On the Necessity of a Formal Sperm Donor Agreement

Photo of attorney Rebecca A. Young

Posted on June 5th, 2017
by Rebecca A. Young

On June 1, the Superior Court quashed an appeal in which a child’s mother sought to block the custody rights of the child’s biological father (J.A.F.).

In 2014, a woman and her husband wished to have a child but needed a sperm donor to do so. Lacking the financial resources to obtain the services of a sperm bank, they sought a sperm donor among friends and co-workers.  J.A.F. volunteered.  The three then engaged in a series of text messages in which they discussed how to proceed, and set out the future role each would play in the child’s life.

After the child was born, J.A.F. filed a custody complaint.  The mother claimed that he did not have standing to pursue custody because they had agreed, through their text messages, that J.A.F. would not exercise his custodial rights.

In court, the mother filed two separate petitions in which she sought to dismiss the biological father’s custody complaint.  The trial court denied both petitions and the mother filed this appeal.  The Superior Court held that the mother could not appeal until after there was a final custody determination.

The moral of the story: a formal agreement among parties to an assisted reproduction transaction is needed.  Text messages will not do.


heARTbeat is a publication of KingSpry’s Adoption Law and Assisted Reproductive Technology Law Practice Group. It is meant to be informational and does not constitute legal advice.