Will I be responsible for a child if my wife gets pregnant using an anonymous donor while we are still married?

UPDATED: Dec 5, 2011

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Will I be responsible for a child if my wife gets pregnant using an anonymous donor while we are still married?

I am getting a divorce. My soon to be ex-wife has gone to see a fertility doctor because she wants to get pregnant.

Asked on December 5, 2011 under Family Law, Georgia


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding your wife getting pregnant by a sperm donor and if that will in turn make you responsible as the child’s father since you are still married.  State laws may vary somewhat as to determining paternity and rebutting the presumption of paternity.  You should be aware that the courts side with the mother in paternity cases, as she is the one who can attest to who the potential father may or may not be. 

In most states, there is a rebuttal presumption that the husband of the marriage is the father of a baby conceived during that marriage, or born during the time of the marriage.  However, this is a rebuttal presumption meaning that the presumption can be refuted.  As a side note, you may want to check the state laws for the responsibilities of a fertility doctor to notify a husband of his wife trying to get fertility treatments to get pregnant.  The fertility doctor may be neglecting his obligation to consult with you. 

If you want to petition paternity of the child you will want to file for a petition as soon as you can, but are more likely to get a court-ordered paternity test after the child is born.  Courts do not want to test paternity while the child is still inside the mother, because the testing could cause a health risk to the baby.  But after the baby is born the test is done with a cotton swab and is completely harmless.

If you explain to the judge the circumstances in which your wife got pregnant and how she was seeing a fertility specialist, then the judge is likely to order a paternity test to be done at a court approved facility.  If you get this done sooner than later, you will lower your risk of having to pay child support for the child.


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