Judge orders genetic testing for Kansas sperm donor to determine if he is 5-year-old's dad

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TOPEKA, Kansas — A Kansas judge has ordered genetic testing to determine whether a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple is the biological father of a 5-year-old girl born to one of the women.

Shawnee County District Judge Mary Mattivi issued the order Friday, writing that William Marotta of Topeka is "not a mere donor of sperm." It's the second time Mattivi had ordered the testing.

Marotta's attorney, Benoit Swinnen, successfully petitioned the Kansas Supreme Court last year to require a "Ross Hearing" to determine whether genetic testing to establish biological parenthood was in the child's best interest.

Mattivi presided over that hearing on Nov. 18 and on Friday ordered Marotta, the girl and her mother, Jennifer Schreiner, to "submit to genetic testing as soon as is reasonably practical," The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1Fmg1pL ) reported.

Kansas wants Marotta declared the father so he can be forced to pay child support for the girl, who was born in 2009. The Kansas Department for Families and Children started pursuing the case in October 2012 after Schreiner and her partner, Angela Bauer, split up and Schreiner applied for state health insurance for the child.

Marotta says he contacted Schreiner and Bauer in response to an ad they placed on Craigslist seeking a sperm donor and that he had signed a contract waiving his parental rights and responsibilities.

Mattivi ruled in January 2014 that the contract was moot because Schreiner and Bauer didn't follow a 1994 Kansas statute that the judge said requires a licensed physician to perform the artificial insemination.

In her four-page ruling Friday, Mattivi wrote that Marotta had conducted himself in a manner inconsistent with being a simple donor of genetic material, including corresponding with Schreiner and Bauer during the pregnancy, visiting Schreiner at the hospital and holding the child shortly after her birth.

The judge noted that Schreiner and Bauer had testified that it was important to them that the girl know Marotta and that they intended to give the girl a full explanation of the circumstances surrounding her conception and birth when she's old enough to understand.

Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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