The High Court today reaffirmed an earlier court decision in favour of a sperm donor. It ruled that a child conceived in 2006 must remain in Australia. The decision overturns an appeal won by the child’s mother and her wife.
The man, known in court as Robert, donated sperm to his friend under the belief he would have involvement in the child’s life.
Since her birth, he maintained a relationship with the child. He introduced her to extended family and volunteered at her school canteen. He is named as the girl’s father on her birth certificate.
The girl called Robert ‘Daddy’. So also did her sister, despite having a different father.
The legal fight began after the girl’s mother and her wife decided to move to New Zealand. The two women were referred to by the pseudonyms Susan and Margaret in court.
‘Sperm donor’ insufficient to describe father’s role
During the initial court case in the Family Court, Justice Margaret Cleary ruled that the law recognised parents in different ways.
“Being a biological parent is not the whole answer to the question ‘who is a parent?'” she said.
“I have reached the conclusion that the children will do best if Susan and Margaret make the long-term decisions about their future in consultation with Robert.
“I have also concluded that the children should live with in Australia, not New Zealand, to enable them to spend regular weekday, weekend and holiday time with Robert.”
After an appeal by the girl’s mother and her wife to the full Family Court overturned the ruling, the father appealed to the High Court.
Today’s ruling by the High Court means the women must consult with their sperm donor, the child’s father, about long-term parenting decisions.
It also stops them from moving, at least in the short term.
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