With modern technology drastically changing the reproductive options couples have, sperm donation and artificial insemination have become increasingly common. These techniques for having a baby are not without important legal considerations, however. Residents of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who undergo these procedures might find themselves struggling for visitation in some cases, as happened with well-known actor Jason Patric of The Lost Boys.
According to reports, Patric agreed to be the sperm donor for his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Schreiber. After Schreiber conceived and gave birth to Patric's son, the couple briefly reconciled, and Patric established a relationship with Gus. Patric later filed court papers in an attempt to obtain joint custody.
Although Schreiber and Patric both acknowledge that the child is Patric's biological son, legally Patric cannot be classified as the father due to current artificial insemination laws. As a result, the judge who handled the case denied Patric's custody request and granted sole custody to Schreiber. The judge did provide visitation rights to Patric, however. Schreiber did not fully support this visitation agreement, preferring visitation outside of the court ruling.
Grand Rapids residents who are considering or have already followed through with sperm donation and artificial insemination might benefit from researching Michigan's custody and visitation laws. These laws shed light on whether a biological link to a child is enough to warrant visitation or custody rights. They further demonstrate the roles that parental relationships and the best interests of the child play in a visitation or custody filing.
Source: Opposing Views, "Jason Patric Seeks Visitation Rights after Sperm Donation to Ex-Girlfriend," Heather Manes, Nov. 29, 2012