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Another dilemma in family law – should sperm donors be required to pay child maintenance?

A man who donated his sperm on two occasions so that his friends who were in a lesbian partnership could have two children has now been told by the Child Support Agency that he is to pay child maintenance for the two children. Mr Langridge was not named on the children’s birth certificate and has played no role in their upbringing but following the separation of the couple the biological mother now solely cares for the children and has made an application for child maintenance to the Child Support Agency. The Child Support Agency has confirmed that he is required to pay child maintenance in relation to both of the children which he estimates will cost him around £8,000 until the children reach the age of majority and child maintenance ceases.

Under current legislation, sperm donors who donate by an official sperm donation centre are not required to pay child maintenance. However, informal arrangements, such as Mr Langridge’s are not covered by the law and therefore Mr Langridge is required to pay child maintenance for the two children. Mr Langridge believes that this is unfair and I anticipate that many would sympathise with him. Mr Langridge wishes for the law to be changed so that sperm donations via informal arrangements are covered by the legislation. However, Mr Langridge would be required to take the matter to Court for Judicial Review which can be costly proceedings.

Although this is a slightly unusual case, family lawyers come across child maintenance issues in every day practice. This can be an application under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 or more commonly, as part of financial proceedings following on from a divorce.

Maguire Family Law is a specialist firm of Family Law and Divorce Law solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We offer legal advice to parties going through a divorce including the financial issues which flow from this and children matters including child maintenance.

We can also advise on Schedule1 Children Act 1989 applications.

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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