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POLL RESULTS: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor: (21 comments)

POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor

Friday, November 13, 2009 - 12:00 AM

A reader writes... Q: I am a ski instructor and tennis pro. Last winter I gave a married couple ski lessons every weekend; they quickly became my best clients. The woman later began private tennis lessons with me and has subsequently filled my tennis programs with her friends and friends' kids. The husband is very cool and looks much like me; people say we look like brothers and we've joked that I'm his doppelganger. Now here's where it gets sticky. The husband has cancer and is impotent; they really want a family. They were reviewing overseas adoption and a friend of hers said, "How about that tennis pro as your sperm donor?" They approached me as a couple. It was a little weird and I asked for a little time to consider this. They made me a cash offer I don't think I can refuse, but I don't want to shoot myself in the foot and have my house of cards come tumbling down. Any thoughts here?

POLL: The tennis pro should
 
52% (788) Practice his best overhand and serve! After all, in tennis, 'love' means nothing
 
5% (78) Decline. If his sperm misses the mark, they might subconsciously find him at fault
 
3% (58) They shouldn't ask this of their tennis instructor! Don't they have a Pool Boy?
 
37% (564) Did he *really* say "Now here's where it gets sticky" and then worry about shooting himself in the foot?
1488 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
CasualNotice
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 12:38 AM (#50066)

Honestly, if he can reconcile himself witht he issues of having a child that isn't legally his, I see nothing wrong with helping the couple out for some cold hard cash.


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akkhima
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 01:08 AM (#50067)

I think I would do it... if I had sperm and the other associated boy-parts. But make sure you've got your legal paperwork in place.


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RadarNocturn
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 05:13 AM (#50068)
In Response to akkhima (#50067):

Yeah, I have to agree. What if the husband dies from cancer and the mother decides that the biological father should pay child support?

I'd make sure I'm legally covered to prevent that from happening and that my ONLY involvement would be the donation of sperm, and I would not be responsible for anything that should happen with it or afterwards.


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Tetsoushima
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 07:24 AM (#50070)

I'm pretty sure that as long as you signed some sort of contract stating that you are simply a sperm donor, there would be no legal issues to worry about later down the road.

Something to consider: When a woman acts as a surrogate for another woman (carries that person's child in her own womb) the child isn't hers at all. She would have no legal rights to the child whatsoever per the initial contract. This is slightly different in that it would be your sperm rather than a pre-fertilized egg, but legally it's very similar. The legal guardian would be the woman's husband. As long as you signed a contract stating that you had no legal obligation to be caregiver to the child, you are in the clear.

Morally, the decision is up to you. Can you walk around knowing that your kid is calling somebody else "Dad"? Are you willing to make a huge sacrifice to fulfill somebody's life wishes? If you don't it may jeopardize your business, that's something to consider too. (It's not nice, but it's a possibility) Anyhow, Good luck with your decision.


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NunyaBidness
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 09:23 AM (#50072)

Just make sure the paperwork is in order, and feel flattered.


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cptbeefalo
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 09:34 AM (#50073)

Wow. That is a sticky situation. A couple things you have to realize in making a decision though:

1 - They were the ones who brought this to you. So saying no could have as detrimental an effect on the relationship as saying yes and having it go badly. But it sounds like you have a great relationship with this family, so as long as all of you can stay adult about the potential uncomfortable situations, it can work.

2 - While I agree you should do everything in your power to cover yourself legally as having no responsibility for the upbringing of the child (unless you chose to have such), realize that certain courts have ruled recently that even sperm donors can be forced to help pay for children they had no intention of helping raise. I would definitely suggest getting a lawyer and learning everything you can about the case law in your appellate jurisdiction, to know if there is even a slim potential of that for you down the road.


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peterb
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 09:39 AM (#50074)

Oh, come on. You might as well have started this letter with "Dear Penthouse Forum: I never believed this could happen to me, but..."

More seriously, assuming this is for real, keep in mind that accepting this couple's offer marks the end of your professional relationship with them. Do you really think they're going to want the sperm donor for any future kids hanging around competing with the actual, legal father? Or hanging around with their friends? No.

If your primary concern is your career as a tennis instructor, I think you are LESS likely to damage your prospects by refusing than by accepting. Anyone who would make such an offer understands that it is an unusual request, and would not be angry at someone who refused.


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Lachesis
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 10:11 AM (#50075)

i was going to comment in the vein of "a good lawyer is your friend in these circumstances", but i see most everyone else has covered that already.

however, i'm thinking Peterb may have the right of it. you have a professional/business relationship with these folks right now, and all is good. but the minute any little bundle of joy with your genes pops out, things are likely to get AWWWWKKKWAAAAAARD. i too wouldn't be surprised if this couple suddenly falls completely off your radar. not saying they'd badmouth you to their friends or your other clients, but i'd bet dollars to donuts that they personally will become extremely scarce in your vicinity.


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pakopako
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 11:51 AM (#50077)

Bottomline: If the husband with cancer and the wife married to him are both consenting to offer said instructor with a whole lotta cash, then why not?

And in the situation that if the instructor falls in love with the woman and her/his child, they still have an opportunity to still marry down the road.


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fesworks
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 02:40 PM (#50079)

It sounds like the relationship between you and the couple is in great standings... personally I would consider this an honor. This is a great level of trust and such to even be asked to do this!

The only thing I'd consider an issue, is if you may have a problem with being friends with a couple that is technically having YOUR kid... kinda... Personally, I don't *think* I'd have a problem, however, this is the only MAJOR concern I could think of having, and that would be something to discuss with them.

However, you should still be honored at the proposal.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - 05:24 PM (#50080)

I don't think that there's anything to worry about in this situation. It's no different than selling your sperm to the sperm bank. And, they're most likely not asking you to have sex with her, but rather a plastic cup.

The only thing that you would have to deal with is whether or not you can't part with any paternal feelings. But, let's face it; in your life, you've probably flushed more potential children down the toilet than you've put to pleasing another person.

Like they say, just make sure the proper paperwork is in order if you decide to do it. Then give the kid a discount on lessons a few years down the road.


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Murgatroyd
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 12:23 AM (#50081)

Tetsoushima wrote: I'm pretty sure that as long as you signed some sort of contract stating that you are simply a sperm donor, there would be no legal issues to worry about later down the road.

TheOriginalJes wrote: I don't think that there's anything to worry about in this situation. It's no different than selling your sperm to the sperm bank. And, they're most likely not asking you to have sex with her, but rather a plastic cup.

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Danger! This advice may be very wrong!

(Hah. I don't always agree with Jes.)

You may indeed be liable, depending on which state you're in. There's a discussion of some the issues here [straightdope.com], with several real-life cautionary tales. Nasty ones. Scenarios that Penthouse Letters would reject as being too wild.

It may be OK for you to be the sperm donor, and it seems like a worthwhile and rather noble thing to do. But talk to a lawyer before you do anything!


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Murgatroyd
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 01:26 AM (#50082)

By the way, in the Pennsylvania case cited in The Straight Dope, the sperm donor ultimately won [msn.com] ... good news if that's where the Original Poster lives. An excerpt:

Thurs., Jan. 3, 2008

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a woman who promised a sperm donor he would not have to pay child support cannot renege on the deal.

The 3-2 decision overturns lower court rulings under which Joel L. McKiernan had been paying up to $1,500 a month to support twin boys born in August 1994 to Ivonne V. Ferguson, his former girlfriend and co-worker.

"Where a would-be donor cannot trust that he is safe from a future support action, he will be considerably less likely to provide his sperm to a friend or acquaintance who asks, significantly limiting a would-be mother's reproductive prerogatives," Justice Max Baer wrote in the majority opinion issued last week.

Arthur Caplan, chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said the decision runs counter to the pattern established by similar cases, where the interests of the progeny have generally been given great weight.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 10:40 PM (#50088)
In Response to Murgatroyd (#50081):

Wow. That's something to think about.

But, what are the odds that the country club type of couple is letigious?...nevermind.

Murg is right. Talk to a lawyer.

But, I might add this. Donating is one thing. But a business contract is another deal entirely. And a far more binding one. If they really want it bad enough, sell them your sperm. Then you have legal proof that they don't need your money for support, and a precedent is set for the flow of cash in your favor.

If you do decide to sell, you may also be taking on the responsibility of having the lab work done. The expense would, of course, be covered in your fees.

Unless Murg can find a story about a sperm-bank donor who ended up paying child support?


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Murgatroyd
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Monday, November 16, 2009 - 05:18 AM (#50093)

Aren't sperm bank donors deliberately kept anonymous by fertility clinic doctors, to prevent child-support claims?


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Monday, November 16, 2009 - 12:48 PM (#50097)
In Response to Murgatroyd (#50093):

I thought the intention was to protect the child from custody issues and the confusion of a donor suddenly appearing to say, "Hey there, guess who I am!"

But, they would have to keep records for medical reasons, one would think.


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Murgatroyd
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Monday, November 16, 2009 - 10:57 PM (#50102)

I thought the intention was to protect the child from custody issues and the confusion of a donor suddenly appearing to say, "Hey there, guess who I am!"

Yeah. As far as I'm concerned, these are all valid reasons.

From the Straight Dope column:

In other cases women have inseminated themselves with sperm from fellatio or from a condom (or so their male acquaintances alleged), then sought child support -- and won.

A friend of mine in college (Brian, are you reading this?) claimed this happened to him. He'd been seeing a girl who was starting to pressure him to get serious about their relationship. One evening he was out of condoms and she wasn't on the pill, so she offered the Lewinsky treatment. As soon as they were finished, she ran to the bathroom. Suddenly suspicious, he followed her, opened the door ... and found her on her back, pelvis angled upward, trying to transfer genetic material from her mouth to her genitalia with her fingers. (Interesting mental image, no?) Needless to say, that ended the relationship.


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pecoros7
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 12:21 AM (#50103)

Since biological parentage has been an issue in these cases and contracts have been insufficient to avoid paternity suits, you may want to consider a legal adoption. If the couple is willing, you may present yourself as the child's biological father at birth, surrender your paternal rights and have the sterile dad adopt, thereby absolving yourself of all future obligations to the child. There is still a risk of them changing their minds once the child is conceived, but if they follow through, you won't have to worry about any future litigation. Consider discussing this option with the couple and a lawyer to make sure you understand adoption laws in your state and confirm that this is a viable option before you make a decision.


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 10:53 AM (#50109)
In Response to pecoros7 (#50103):

The big problem with legal adoption is that, for this discussion, it falls under the too late category. The OP is obviously unsure as to the (future) stability of the recipient couple. (Which in itself is pretty much the only reason he needs to not do it, I suppose.)

Once they have his sperm (and progeny) the situation is entirely out of his hands. He wants/needs assurances before this all begins.


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Murgatroyd
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 02:48 PM (#50112)

The OP is obviously unsure as to the (future) stability of the recipient couple. (Which in itself is pretty much the only reason he needs to not do it, I suppose.)

I think that we're the ones who are the most worried. He was just wondering what might go wrong.

The only scenario I'd really worry about would be one in which the infertile husband dies of cancer at some point in the future, and then the widow decides she deserves child support. As long as the husband lived long enough to see the birth of the kid, the adoption idea would work. Hmm ... it might even be possible to try both the sperm donor and the adoption routes.

The issues of what the kid would be told and whether OP would have visitation rights are something he and a lawyer should be prepared to deal with, too.

Funny how the answers to all of our questions eventually evolve into see a lawyer before you do anything.

Once they have his sperm (and progeny) the situation is entirely out of his hands.

Hands? 8^)


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TheOriginalJes
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Re: POLL: Raising a racquet over a sperm donor (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 04:35 PM (#50113)
In Response to Murgatroyd (#50112):

-"Hands?"-

Yes, it was intentional. ;D


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