Sperm donor is child’s legal father, Australian court rules

An Australian sperm donor is the legal father of an 11-year-old girl after being actively involved in her life, Australia’s top court has found.

The man had fought to stop the girl’s biological mother and her wife from moving to New Zealand with the child.

It overturns a ruling in a state court that the man did not have such legal rights.

His lawyers said it could have “ramifications” for other donors who fill a parental role in a child’s life.

The 49-year-old man and the child’s mother had been friends when he agreed to donate his semen.

They arranged to raise the child together but later had a falling out, his lawyers said, adding that she called him “Daddy”.

On Wednesday, the High Court of Australia ruled that he had the same status as a legal parent, preventing the family moving to New Zealand.

“This is significant for every father out there that has decided to raise a child with a friend as opposed to a romantic partner,” his lawyer, Tahlia Bleier, told the BBC.

“It clarifies the law and confirms now that their legal status can be one of a parent too, providing they play the role of the parent in the child’s life.”

The parties were not identified in court for legal reasons.

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