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Under Cal. Civ. Code § 7005(b), the state legislature has afforded unmarried as well as married women a statutory vehicle for obtaining semen for artificial insemination without fear that the donor may claim paternity, and has likewise provided men with a statutory vehicle for donating semen to married and unmarried women alike without fear of liability for child support. Section 7005(b) states only one limitation on its application: the semen must be provided to a licensed physician. Otherwise, whether impregnation occurs through artificial insemination or sexual intercourse, there can be a determination of paternity with the rights, duties and obligations such a determination entails.
Respondent Jhordan provided semen to appellant mother, and appellant mother used that semen to artificially inseminate herself. Appellant mother eventually bore a child and proceeded to raise the child with appellant friend. Thereafter, respondent filed suit against appellant mother to establish paternity of the child. Appellant friend was permitted to join as a party to the litigation, asserting that she was the child's de facto parent. The trial court awarded sole custody to appellant mother, but declared respondent was the legal father of the child. Appellants sought the court's review asserting that under Cal. Civ. Code § 7005(b), respondent was precluded from being treated as the child's natural father.
Under the circumstances, could the respondent be declared as the legal father of the child, notwithstanding the provisions of Cal. Civ. Code § 7005(b)?
The court held that under § 7005(b), a donor of semen provided to a licensed physician for use in artificial insemination was treated in law as if he were not the natural father of the child thereby conceived. Here however, respondent's semen was not provided to a licensed physician, but instead was given directly to appellant mother. As a result, the parties failed to take advantage of the statutory basis for preclusion of paternity.