A man in Kansas state in the US who donated his sperm to help a lesbian couple have a baby is now fighting efforts by the state to force him to pay for child support, RIA Novosti reported.
The man said the move has already prompted some men not to become sperm donors.
"I don't even have to guess at that... people have already said 'No'," 46-year-old William Marotta told the Topeka Capital-Journal.
"I can't even believe it's gone this far at this point, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it," he said.
Marotta said he answered an ad seeking a sperm donor.
In 2009, he and the two women, Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, met and signed an agreement in which he relinquished all parental rights and responsibilities regarding the child, a little girl who is now three years old.
But after the women split up, Schreiner tried to obtain health insurance for their daughter through the state, and says she was ordered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) to provide the donor's name or be denied health insurance benefits.
The state says the agreement is legally void because Schreiner did not have a licensed physician perform the procedure that allowed her to become pregnant.
"If a sperm donor makes his contribution through a licensed physician and a child is conceived, the donor is held harmless under state statue," DCF spokeswoman Angela de Rocha told the Capital-Journal.
"In cases where the parties do not go through a physician or a clinic, there remains the question of who actually is the father of a child or children. DCF is required by statute to establish paternity and then pursue child support from the non-custodial parent."
RIA Novosti said it is a case that may be pivotal to the sperm donor industry in the US.
Although there are no concrete figures on the number of children born in the country through sperm donation, some estimates put the number at 30,000 to 60,000, according to the New York Times.
Marotta said even with reduced legal fees, he expects the case to eventually cost more than he can afford, and he is concerned about the financial implications he is facing.
"I've already paid more than 10% of my yearly salary, and I don't know many folks who are willing to give up more than 10% of their yearly income," he said.
A hearing in the case is set for next week.