I wanted to write this for my POV on a conversation that I have dealt with in practice and while on KDR. It is sad that the laws do not offer more protections to our known donors, but until that day comes we'll have to make do on trust and a prayer.
I don’t believe finances should ever determine whether a woman CAN have a child or not. There are plenty of poor women who raise happy, well-adjusted children. The problem lies in who should PAY for a woman’s decision to have these children. In most instances on KDR, women are deliberately choosing to become single mothers and go in with the intentions of raising a child on their own. This means being solely responsible for the care, custody and well-being of the child. There are those women who have no concept what that means or can fathom how ridiculously expensive it is to raise a child. This doesn’t mean she cannot have children or should not have children, but the question of who should PAY for her decision is legitimate one.
On average, the cost of raising a child in the U.S. is $227,000 from birth to age 18, not including college. This is to provide for a decent middle-class upbringing. So, we are looking at an average of $12,611/yr. How many women on KDR can honestly say they have an extra $12,611/yr in income to prove they are financially ready for a child? If this were the test, how many would pass? Are these the same women who nickel-and-dime donors on the cost of shipping kits, shipping costs or reimbursements?
I do not believe a donor wants to contribute to a situation knowing that a child is going to be raised at or beneath the poverty level. Many donors want to know that the children they help create will have good lives. However, “good” is relative. And, we should be hesitant to impose our definition of “good” on to another. Yet, let’s not be naïve. In America, one in four of children under age 6 is raised in poverty. Children next to seniors are the poorest in this country. Children need resources to thrive. Money is a resource and provides a wealth of opportunity. Given the moral obligation that a donor may feel he has, and the legal threat of child support that he faces perhaps, it is his place to inquire, if not judge, whether a recipient has the financial means to provide for a child. His inquiry and nosiness into our pocketbooks may be his only shield of defense in thwarting off or sniffing out the possibility of a child support case.
Money is a sensitive subject to discuss in any type of setting, thus it is no surprise that it puts donors and recipients on the offense/defense when brought up in donor-recipient discussions. In effort to aid the discussions, I intend to offer just a few topics that are often relevant in child support cases (but also applicable for our purposes) brought by individuals having custody of the child or state enforcement units. Perhaps, a nervous donor scared by the thought of a child support suit will feel more comfortable donating to a recipient who is more financially transparent.
Employment. What does the recipient’s employment history look like? Does the recipient have marketable, transferable job skills? How long has she been with her current employer? Is there room for advancement or promotion? Does donor have a right to terminate the donor agreement if recipient loses her job and conception has not occurred?
Care. How does the recipient plan to provide for the necessary support and education of the child? How will she do so in the event of job lay off? Does the recipient need to or plans to apply for WIC, foodstamps, subsidized day care or housing, or cash benefits as a means to financially support the child? Is she relying on family for financial support, daycare or aftercare?
Cost of Pregnancy. Does the recipient have sufficient insurance coverage or is able to accept as an out-of-pocket expense all medical expenses connected to her pregnancy and medical expenses connected to the birth of the child? Can she provide proof of insurance and dependent coverage? Will she qualify for a paid maternity leave?
Health Insurance. How does recipient plan to provide health care coverage? Does she receive health care as a benefit of her employment? If separated from employment, can she afford COBRA?
Uninsured and Non-reimbursable Health Care Costs. How does recipient plan to provide for any and all uninsured or non-reimbursable health care costs that include medical, dental, orthodontic, therapeutic, optical and hospital expenses?
Tax Dependency Exemptions. How does your agreement address tax dependency exemptions? In the case of a child support suit how will those tax dependency exemptions be applied to offset child support paid?
Death. Should recipient suffer an untimely death what preparations are in place to provide care for the minor donor-conceived child thereafter? Life insurance? Retirement funds? Trust? Will? Guardianship appointment? What provisions are in place to discourage family members or other care givers from seeking child support from donor or filing for public assistance?
Inheritance. Should donor agree to contact between himself and the child how will donor best prepare to shield his estate from the donor-conceived child? In many states, a biological child can force a share against a will and inherit through intestacy.
Breach. How does your donor agreement address breach of the agreement where recipient does file for and receive public assistance or files for child support? In many states, parental indemnification agreements with respect to child support are void as being against public policy. Moreover, parents cannot contract away child support rights belonging to the child.
My legal disclaimer: This information is designed to help you as a point of reference for your own research and should not be considered legal advice. Legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. It is recommended you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.