Skip Nav
Family Life
4 Signs You're Burnt Out as a Mom
Pregnancy
Study Shows Having a Baby After 35 Years Old Can Do Incredible Things For Your Brain
Personal Essay
Why Didn't Anybody Tell Me: Shakes During Delivery

Drawing the Line Between Sperm Donor and Dad?

As more people use alternative methods to create families, issues are bound to arise. For one New Mexico mother and her sperm donor, the debate was whether or not the role of "dad" came with financial responsibility. Janna Mintz conceived a son and later a daughter with her friend Kevin Zoernig's sperm. Though the couple signed a contract that Kevin would not be financially responsible for his biological offspring prior to Janna's artificial insemination, after an eight-year legal battle, he has been ordered to pay child support. Do you think the ruling is fair?

Around The Web
Join The Conversation
junebug20 junebug20 8 years
That woman doesn't know what she wants. First she has a same sex partner, then she is married to a man. I read an interesting article about this on the internet (see below). It seems they had agreed on $250 a month but then SHE wanted more money when HER financial situation changed. I agree with the others. She is just wrong. A woman like that probably doesn't have her childrens' interests at heart, but her own. Thank goodness they did have the "sperm donor" in their lives because the mother sure as screwed them up - first a woman then a man. Court orders sperm donor to pay child supportThe Associated PressSANTA FE—A court battle over whether a sperm donor should pay a higher rate of child support has ended with a ruling that the man is liable because he has taken an active role in raising the children. Kevin Zoernig had argued he was not required to pay child support because he is a sperm donor and is protected under the state's Uniform Parentage Act. But the state Court of Appeals noted in its July 25 opinion that this was not a case involving an anonymous donor or a known donor who provided sperm to a licensed physician under an agreement in which he agreed to have no parental rights. In this case, Janna Mintz inseminated herself using what the court describes as a "syringe-like implement." The court said Thursday that the opinion, as a formal published opinion instead of a memorandum opinion, can be cited as a precedent. Zoernig agreed in 1994 to donate sperm so that Mintz and her partner at the time, Deborah Mrantz, could have a child. After the couple broke up, Zoernig fathered another child for Mintz, again as a sperm donor. Zoernig, Mintz and Mrantz had entered into an agreement in 1994 in which the female couple would be the child's primary custodians. Zoernig would serve as a male role model but not be financially obligated to support the child. Mintz and Zoernig entered into a similar agreement for the second child, born in 1997, court records show. Although Mintz is the children's primary custodian, they stay with Zoernig every other weekend during the school year and half the summer. Zoernig, 50, now is married and has three children with his wife. In February 2000, Mintz sought child support payments from Zoernig. The parties agreed the following year that Zoernig would pay $250 a month in child support, plus $50 a month toward arrears, according to court documents. In 2004, Mintz filed a motion to raise those payments, saying her financial situation had changed. A state district judge adopted a new rate of $670 a month. Zoernig turned to the Court of Appeals, challenging his obligation to provide any support as well as the higher rate, since the children were conceived through artificial insemination. The appellate court said he must pay support for both children. The court said he "enjoys the rights of parenthood," and that the agreements entered into prior to conception "that purport to absolve him of his responsibility to pay child support" are not enforceable. Mintz, who now has a husband, said she is pleased with the ruling. "The decision represents a big victory for our children because their father will continue to provide support for them," she said in a statement. Zoernig said the battle "shows you that people who make well-intended agreements outside of the court system can easily be swept into the court system."
junebug20 junebug20 8 years
That woman doesn't know what she wants. First she has a same sex partner, then she is married to a man. I read an interesting article about this on the internet (see below). It seems they had agreed on $250 a month but then SHE wanted more money when HER financial situation changed. I agree with the others. She is just wrong. A woman like that probably doesn't have her childrens' interests at heart, but her own. Thank goodness they did have the "sperm donor" in their lives because the mother sure as screwed them up - first a woman then a man. Court orders sperm donor to pay child support The Associated Press SANTA FE—A court battle over whether a sperm donor should pay a higher rate of child support has ended with a ruling that the man is liable because he has taken an active role in raising the children. Kevin Zoernig had argued he was not required to pay child support because he is a sperm donor and is protected under the state's Uniform Parentage Act. But the state Court of Appeals noted in its July 25 opinion that this was not a case involving an anonymous donor or a known donor who provided sperm to a licensed physician under an agreement in which he agreed to have no parental rights. In this case, Janna Mintz inseminated herself using what the court describes as a "syringe-like implement." The court said Thursday that the opinion, as a formal published opinion instead of a memorandum opinion, can be cited as a precedent. Zoernig agreed in 1994 to donate sperm so that Mintz and her partner at the time, Deborah Mrantz, could have a child. After the couple broke up, Zoernig fathered another child for Mintz, again as a sperm donor. Zoernig, Mintz and Mrantz had entered into an agreement in 1994 in which the female couple would be the child's primary custodians. Zoernig would serve as a male role model but not be financially obligated to support the child. Mintz and Zoernig entered into a similar agreement for the second child, born in 1997, court records show. Although Mintz is the children's primary custodian, they stay with Zoernig every other weekend during the school year and half the summer. Zoernig, 50, now is married and has three children with his wife. In February 2000, Mintz sought child support payments from Zoernig. The parties agreed the following year that Zoernig would pay $250 a month in child support, plus $50 a month toward arrears, according to court documents. In 2004, Mintz filed a motion to raise those payments, saying her financial situation had changed. A state district judge adopted a new rate of $670 a month. Zoernig turned to the Court of Appeals, challenging his obligation to provide any support as well as the higher rate, since the children were conceived through artificial insemination. The appellate court said he must pay support for both children. The court said he "enjoys the rights of parenthood," and that the agreements entered into prior to conception "that purport to absolve him of his responsibility to pay child support" are not enforceable. Mintz, who now has a husband, said she is pleased with the ruling. "The decision represents a big victory for our children because their father will continue to provide support for them," she said in a statement. Zoernig said the battle "shows you that people who make well-intended agreements outside of the court system can easily be swept into the court system."
shalee55 shalee55 8 years
HE GAVE HER A GIFT AND SHE BETRAYED HIM....NASTY
macgirl macgirl 8 years
Doesn't sperm donor mean you give up the goods and go away? If he's in their lives and wants say then he is no longer just a sperm donor and changed the terms of the contract himself.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
If he's involved with them emotionally then yeah, he should pay. I wonder why he chose to get involved and why she let him when they made a prior agreement.
a-nonny-mouse a-nonny-mouse 8 years
Hmmm, it seems that there is far more information to this story than what is posted here. I don't see a link. (I could Google, but I'm lazy. Bad mousie!)Based merely on the blurb printed here, my reaction would be, "No, totally unfair."But some of the other posters are offering additional information: If he has set up a personal relationship with the children and is pressing to influence the choices made in their lives, then, "yes."If it is the latter, then it seems he wants it both ways -- to have the interaction and control that a father would, but without the responsibility.If it is the former, then the agreement should have been honored.
a-nonny-mouse a-nonny-mouse 8 years
Hmmm, it seems that there is far more information to this story than what is posted here. I don't see a link. (I could Google, but I'm lazy. Bad mousie!) Based merely on the blurb printed here, my reaction would be, "No, totally unfair." But some of the other posters are offering additional information: If he has set up a personal relationship with the children and is pressing to influence the choices made in their lives, then, "yes." If it is the latter, then it seems he wants it both ways -- to have the interaction and control that a father would, but without the responsibility. If it is the former, then the agreement should have been honored.
milosmommy milosmommy 8 years
No, I don't think that's right. I'm all for not letting "dead-beat" dads get away with not doing their fair share, but this is so not in that catagory. There was a signed written contract and it should've been honored regardless of the fact that he wanted to spend time with the children.
Pallas-Athena Pallas-Athena 8 years
That is unfair. If someone has a friend who is willing to carry their baby or donate sperm and unless they ask to be part of the child's life like a aunt or uncle or you know second mom or dad and the parents say it is okay then they shouldn't have to do anything other be a friend.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
I do not agree with the ruling. I know someone who couldn't get a loan for a house because he was paying child support for a kid that wasn't biologically his. The woman put his name down as the father he asked for a paternity test and he wasn't it but the court decided it was in the child's best interest to have someone pay child support.
joygwilson joygwilson 8 years
there was a purpose in signing the contract....he should not have to pay. she should not expect it either. hasnt he given her enough to be thankful for?
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 8 years
He went above and beyond the role of a sperm donor when he decided to spend so much time with the kids, want to be in their lives and later want to dictate where they should live - that made him a father.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 8 years
Nope, he shouldn't be forced to pay. They signed an agreement and it should stand. If all he was supposed to do was provide his sperm, anyway.
chancleta chancleta 8 years
No.That's not right.They signed a contract.She may not have those kids if it wasn't for the contract.Unfair.
chancleta chancleta 8 years
No. That's not right. They signed a contract. She may not have those kids if it wasn't for the contract. Unfair.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
This case is unique and involved people who knew each other beyond the donor/donee relationship. He spends time with the children and was looking to increase that time so I think in this case him chipping in towards care seems reasonable.
Tattoos to Represent Baby or Child
How Having a Dog Makes You a Better Mom
How Your Life Changes After a Second Kid
Raising Kids In a Hateful World
Google's Smart Crib Invention
Why Moms Are Sexy
Why Parents Need Alone Time

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds