The child support system in the United States is a mess. Too many states follow formulas that don't serve the needs of individual families and leave many non-custodial parents feeling stripped of their rights while many custodial parents feel they are forced to wait and wait through bureaucratic processes before receiving their money. There are some single parents who are happy with the way child support works, but they are hard to come by.
Chukwudera B. Okoli is a man in Massachusetts (I hesitate to even call him a "father") who has every right to hate the system right now. Currently, he's being forced to pay child support to the children born via IVF to Blessing Okoli, his former wife.
The story is so unfair, it will make you want to scream. But the issues it raises are even more troubling. Are sperm donors fathers now?
Even in the case of an anonymous sperm donor, the child support may be in the best interest of the children. After all, children need the support of two parents. But morally it's wrong. Isn't a man a person, too? Don't they have rights? What kind of mother purposely creates and gives birth to a child (or children) she can't afford and then changes her mind about an agreement?
Our legal system shouldn't be supporting such irresponsible behavior.
Biology doesn't make a person a father. That is done through late nights and changing diapers and school plays and cuddles. But the court says otherwise. The court says regardless of whether you and the mother signed an agreement, a person is legally obligated to support their offspring with their money whether they're involved with the children or not.
No one is going to donate sperm anymore if this is the kind of thing that happens. Okoli's case may be unique in that he was once married to the mom, but in the end, he is a donor and just a donor. Just like the anonymous ones in a sperm bank. Here is a man thinking he is doing a good thing and he gets sued for child support. It's so wrong.
The bottom line is that a single woman shouldn't have children she can't afford on her own. Part of good parenting is making good decisions for your family. Why would you have kids you can't afford?
An anonymous sperm donor -- or any sperm donor -- is not a father and no amount of child support can make him one. In the family court, every decision is made in the best interest of a child, but parents are people, too. They have rights. This tramples on men's rights and it makes women look incompetent. If you can't afford a child, for God's sake, don't have one.
Child support may make sense legally, but morally it's an absolute mess.
Article: 8th March 2012 by Sasha Brown-Worsham www.thestir.cafemom.com