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In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Dec. 27 that a sperm donor who gave up his parental rights in an oral contract with the mother of twins can’t be required to pay child support.

Justice Max Baer, writing for the majority, said that a contrary decision would undermine alternative means of reproduction in a modern age that allow women who are in established relationships or who are single � but who can’t conceive a child on their own � to enter contracts with male sperm donors who are not required to support the progeny sired from their sperm donations and who lose their parental rights to the children.

Both the Superior Court and the Dauphin Common Pleas Court had ruled that the oral contract formed between the private sperm donor, Joel L. McKiernan, and Ivonne V. Ferguson, the mother of the children fertilized with McKiernan’s sperm during in vitro fertilization, was unenforceable.

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