It has been reported that a gay man from Essex who donated his sperm to enable a lesbian couple to have two children is being forced by the Child Support Agency to pay for their support – 13 years after the first child was born.
Mr Langridge, who has been with his partner for 16 years (and in a civil partnership for the last five), has called on the Government to review the law after the CSA demanded that he start paying £26 a week for two children he technically fathered over a decade ago.
Mr Langridge made the first of two sperm donations in 1998, after he and his partner became friends with a lesbian couple who wanted to have children. The second donation followed in 2000, and on both occasions the couple were promised that he would not be named on the birth certificate. He was also assured that the lesbian couple were financially secure and would require no money from him.
Mr Langridge had some contact with the family until 2004 but then lost touch. The lesbian couple, who never became civil partners, split up, and the biological mother housing the children later claimed benefits. It is reported that the mother’s former partner continues to visit the children but is not regarded as having any financial responsibility by the CSA.
Emma Alfieri, Family Practitioner at Steeles Law, commented: “Changes to the law mean that if Mr Langridge made the donation today in similar circumstances he would not be liable to pay child support for the children. This follows the law on sperm donation and paternity which was changed in April 2009. Now, under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, anyone who donates to a couple in a civil partnership or via a licensed clinic is not considered the legal father. The other partner in the partnership is now considered the legal parent of the child provided they consent and following the change in law they would now be liable to pay the child maintenance, NOT the donor.”
It is reported that Mr Langridge has called for the law governing this area to be applied retrospectively, as it is thought there could be many men caught in a similar position. Any subsequent changes to the law on this issue will be published on the Steeles Law website.