Does a sperm donor have parental rights under New Jersey law?

By Bari Zell Weinberger
Updated: October 16, 2017
Does a sperm donor have parental rights under New Jersey law?

Some couples prefer to go through the insemination process at home rather than in a doctor’s office, usually for financial or privacy reasons; this is sometimes referred to as “alternative insemination.” Alternative medically unsupervised donor insemination is legally risky because the law that allows a donor to relinquish rights applies only when the process is carried out under physician supervision.

In these situations, couples put themselves at risk for the sperm donor to later claim parental rights, including child custody. The sperm donor, too, could be at risk for having a claim for child support made against them.

Very recently a case made the news in New Jersey which involved a lesbian couple with two children conceived through alternative insemination via two different sperm donors. Both donors sued the couple seeking parenting time and the courts agreed to it. The couple has appealed and continues to be locked in a battle over this issue.

If you are considering using a sperm donor, consider that the added cost of seeking physician assistance for artificial insemination may be less expensive in the long run than the court battles you can potentially experience over parentage issues.


Bari Zell Weinberger is the owner and managing partner of Weinberger Law Group in New Jersey. She is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney.

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September 29, 2017

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