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Australian sperm donor wins court battle to be named daughter’s biological father

Australian sperm donor wins court battle to be named daughter’s biological father after girl’s mother moved her to New Zealand

  • Australian sperm donor wont he court battle to be named girl’s biological father  

An Australian man who donated his sperm to a friend has won the legal battle to be named the girl’s biological father because he was involved in her life.  

The man, given the pseudonym Robert Masson, won the High Court battle that began when the mother made the decision to move to New Zealand with the child.

A majority of the High Court ruled that the sperm donor is the legal father of his child, with the decision overturning an appeal made by the girl’s mother and her wife. 

The court heard Mr Masson agreed to give his sperm to his friend Susan Parsons (her court pseudonym) through artificial insemination in 2006.

Mr Masson agreed on the understanding he would parent, provide financial support and financial care and is named as the girl’s father on her birth certificate.  

In the years since she was born, Mr Masson has maintained a close relationship with the girl and introduced her to his extended family.

Both the girl and her younger sister, who isn’t related to him, call Mr Massons ‘Daddy’.   

Issues arose when the mother and her partner wanted to move to New Zealand with the girls.

Mr Masson stopped them through the Family Court with the initial ruling in his favour, as he was found to be a parent.

A successful appeal made by the girl’s mother and her wife stated state laws ruled him as purely a sperm donor. 

But the High Court on Wednesday ruled in the man’s favour and overturned the appeal, reinstating the Family Court judgement that the women must stay in Australia.

The case came down to whether state law should apply instead of commonwealth laws, with state law saying a sperm donor isn’t a parent. 

Lawyers for Mr Masson argued state laws should not apply as there was no gap in the commonwealth law.

Under the commonwealth law Mr Masson is considered a parent, as he is the biological father and is involved in the child’s life.

The High Court agreed, saying in a summary of its judgment on Wednesday: ‘The majority held that no reason had been shown to doubt the primary judge’s conclusion that the appellant was a parent of the child.’  

Solicitor General Stephen Donaghue QC argued the commonwealth definition should be used.

‘State law is just not relevant,’ he told the court.

Lawyers for Ms Parsons and her partner say the man is a sperm donor and not a parent.


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