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Court Rules Sperm Donor Legal Dad

February 1, 2002

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ A court ruled Thursday a 35-year-old Swedish man who privately donated his sperm to a lesbian couple is the legal father of the three children and must support them financially.

Anna Bjurling, the mother of the children _ ages 10, seven, and five _ asked Igor Lehnberg to pay child support after the relationship with her partner ended last year.

A county administrative court ruled in her favor and ordered Lehnberg to pay child support of $280 a month.

Lehnberg challenged the decision by arguing in district court that he wasn’t the legal father. But the court said a document Lehnberg had signed, stating that he was the biological father, was legally binding.

Lehnberg claimed he signed the document only so the children would know their origin, not to accept any responsibility for them.

Anne Norberg, a spokeswoman for the Lehnberg’s lawyer, said he would appeal the verdict.

Swedish law gives same-sex couples in a legal union most of the same rights and obligations as married couples, but they are not allowed to adopt children or undergo artificial insemination.

It’s not clear where Bjurling’s insemination, which would have been illegal in Sweden, was done.

Lehnberg told the district court in Oerebro, 90 miles west of Stockholm, that his girlfriend at the time persuaded him to donate sperm to the lesbian couple in 1991.

He only had limited contact with the children, he said, and it was agreed that the couple would handle all parental responsibilities.

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