Paternity

 In the unpublished (non-precedential) trial court case of Rendon v. Ale, the Court determined that a biological father, who while married to another woman, donated sperm in order for another woman to be artificially inseminated was not insulated under the protections of the Artificial Insemination Statute.

In Rendon, the parties, who were initially both married to other people, started a romantic relationship. After many years of their on again, off again affair, and notwithstanding that Defendant was still married, Defendant agreed to donate his sperm to Plaintiff for the purposes of artificial insemination.  Five days after his first sperm sample was taken, Plaintiff executed and had notarized a “Resignation Letter of Obligations” which stated:

To whom it may concern: This letter confirms the renunciation of all

kinds of paternal obligations that can have Carlos Ale identified with

Social Security # ***-**-3381 with my son or daughter since his (her)

procreation to his (her) adulthood. This includes maintenance, healthcare,

child support or any other responsibility as a father.

Very truly yours, /s Alba Rendon.

Continue Reading Sperm Donation: The Gift that Keeps on Giving?

Typically, when people think of a parentage a dispute, it is the father’s paternity which is at issue. However, with emerging science that paradigm is shifting. Specifically, with assisted reproductive technology on the rise, interesting questions crop up regarding the both of the child’s legal parents. This is because when a surrogate is used, hospital and state birth record procedures mandate that the surrogate’s name is put on the original birth record as the child’s mother simply because she gave birth. If the surrogate is married, her husband’s name is also normally put on the original birth record as the father. Therefore, the surrogate must cooperate in the establishment of parentage as to the intended parents in some sort of legal proceeding, either before or after birth, depending on the state.

This new facet of the law was explored in New Jersey in the Appellate Division’s approved for publication opinion of In the Matter of the Parentage of a Child by T.J.S. and A.L.S., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. Feb. 23, 2011). There, the Appellate Division whether the New Jersey Parentage Act (Parentage Act), N.J.S.A. 9:17-38 to -59, recognizes an infertile wife as the legal mother of her husband’s biological child, born to a surrogate, and, if not, whether the statutory omission violates equal protection by treating women differently than similarly-situated infertile men, whose paternity is presumed under New Jersey law when their wives give birth during the marriage. The Appellate Division held that the Parentage Act did not apply to maternity under the circumstances presented by this case and the differing treatment of infertile husbands and wives was not a constitutional violation.

Continue Reading Appellate Division Upholds the Definition of Maternity in the Age of Reproductive Technology