Breaking the Link between Biology and Parental Rights in Planned Lesbian Families: When Semen Donors are Not Fathers

Posted: 17 Sep 2008

See all articles by Nancy D. Polikoff

Nancy D. Polikoff

American University Washington College of Law

Date Written: September 17, 2000

Abstract

In my earlier work, I have argued that biology is not necessary for the creation of parental rights. This article addresses the corollary that biology is not sufficient to create parental rights. The law should provide a mechanism to facilitate recognition of a mother-child unit as a family without a father, the same status available to a single woman who adopts a child. The article lays out the range of circumstances under which a man agrees to donate semen to enable a lesbian to bear a child. It argues that a waiver of parental rights should be permitted through enforcement of agreements, statutes delineating that a semen donor is not a parent, and/or statutes allowing voluntary termination of parental rights. It also draws on growing open adoption theory to advocates enforcement of agreements granting semen donors a limited, non-parental role in a child's life.

Keywords: lesbian mothers, families, gender

Suggested Citation

Polikoff, Nancy D., Breaking the Link between Biology and Parental Rights in Planned Lesbian Families: When Semen Donors are Not Fathers (September 17, 2000). Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, Vol. 2, 2000, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1269404

Nancy D. Polikoff (Contact Author)

American University Washington College of Law ( email )

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United States
202-274-4232 (Phone)

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