Topeka — A Topeka man wanting parental rights to children conceived with sperm he donated is taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Attorneys for Daryl Hendrix on Monday filed an appeal with the court, seeking to overturn a Kansas Supreme Court ruling last year.
In a 4-2 opinion on Oct. 26, the Kansas court said a state law that doesn't give sperm donors any parental rights unless there's a written agreement is indeed constitutional. The court said the decision upholding the 1994 law was the first of its kind in the nation because no other state has ruled on a provision requiring a written agreement between mother and donor.
"This is a very significant case, not only for the world of fathers' rights, but also for the rights and fair treatment of children," said Jeffrey Leving, a Chicago attorney and national parents' rights advocate representing Hendrix. "Many fathers are criticized for not being there. Here we have a father who wants to help, but he was cut off at the knees."
Hendrix's case is the result of a dispute he has with the mother, Samantha Harrington.
Hendrix and Harrington were friends for a number of years, and he agreed to donate his sperm to help her become pregnant. Harrington gave birth to twins in May 2005.
No written agreement was signed between them, although Harrington is an attorney.
People who donate sperm at a sperm bank must sign a waiver to parental rights, and Hendrix signed nothing, Leving said, adding that Hendrix planned to co-parent the children.
Harrington has maintained that she always intended to be a single mother.
She went to court the day after the twins were born and asked a Shawnee County district judge to sever Hendrix's parental rights. He countered with a paternity action.
Audrey Filipowicz, another attorney for Hendrix, said Hendrix would like to provide financial support for the children and give them part of his estate when he dies.