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Sperm Limits
I keep getting too busy to blog this one, but I'd better put it up before it gets too old. A Chicago doctor alleges his ex-fiancée blew him, saved the sperm, then stuck the turkey baster where the sun don't shine:

The ex-fiancee, Sharon Irons, also a doctor, says Phillips got her pregnant the old-fashioned way -- sexual intercourse -- and concocted the oral sex story as a novel excuse to get out of paying child support for their 5-year-old daughter.

"It's a pack of lies," said Irons, who says she and Phillips have dated off and on since they were students at the University of Illinois Medical School and rekindled their romance after she separated from her husband.

Experts say it's possible

Phillips already lost in paternity court and has been ordered to pay $800 a month because DNA tests show the girl is his. Under the law in Illinois and many states, Phillips has child support obligations whether or not he intended to procreate.

"If he ejaculated and had semen on her or near her through a sex act and somehow it got into her fallopian tubes, up through the ovaries, too bad -- he's got to be more careful what he does with his semen," said Chicago divorce lawyer Donald C. Schiller.

Appellate Justice Allan Hartman noted a 1997 Louisiana case which held a man who said a woman impregnated herself with sperm she got from him in oral sex had child support allegations because "he had some sort of sexual contact" with the woman.

Fertility experts say that even though saliva can break down sperm, Phillips' story theoretically is possible.

My contention? Since a woman is the one who gets pregnant, any woman who has casual sex with a man and is not prepared to pay, in full, to raise any resulting baby, should be prepared to get an abortion or give the baby up for adoption. Roping the guy in, yes, it's what's done. But, isn't that kind of like blaming Manischewitz if somebody gets tanked on the vile stuff and totals his car? And if, like me, you're "pro-choice," maybe it's only fair that you're pro-choice all around.

Posted by aalkon at March 1, 2005 9:52 AM

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Since the woman is indeed the one who gets pregnant, she needs to behave more responsibly all around. If that makes me a hopeless throwback to an earlier time, so be it. But the way I see it, if women made it less possible for men to have flagrantly casual sex, maybe more men would behave honorably.

Responsibly, honorably.
Yeh, I'm a throwback.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at March 1, 2005 3:02 AM

That's not being a hopeless throwback. It's simply relating to the facts of biology, vis a vis the possibilities for birth control these days. It makes no more sense for a man to be responsible for a woman's bodily functions, since it is biologically possible for her to be responsible for them if she so desires, than it does to make a baker responsible if a diabetic downs his donuts. It's one thing if a man and woman plan to have a child together -- and who knows, from this article, if that might have been the case. But enough with this thing of having a one-night stand with some guy you meet in a bar and socking him with 21 years of child support payments to fulfill one's own desire of being a mother. We can control for being pregnant or not pregnant...and should.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 1, 2005 5:42 AM

Yes, it is difficult in the extreme to imagine oneself as Cathy in Wuthering Heights while standing atop a cardboard box with electrodes attached to one's genitalia.

Posted by: Lena on self-respect at March 1, 2005 7:42 AM

This whole story is obscene. It doesn't seem to be the case of a deadbeat dad; rather, a dishonest woman taking advantage of the system. It's one thing if a couple decides together to have children... but to steal someone's sperm? That's vile. On SO many levels.

Posted by: Goddyss at March 1, 2005 7:43 AM

He may have got "suckered" into becoming a father, but the honourable thing to do is to support this child to the best of his ability. He engaged in a behavior that resulted in a consequence.

My best buddy John has found himself in a similar situation, and he is taking responsibility for HIS child.

From a libertarian point of view, I don't see how making the woman be solely responsible for the child works. In reality, we all see that single mom's rely a great deal on the government for support, so in effect he is shifting his burden onto the taxpayer.

But mostly this has to do with honor and the role of being a man.

Posted by: eric at March 1, 2005 8:49 AM

> Fertility experts say that even though saliva can break down sperm, Phillips' story theoretically is possible.

Isn't a version of the same technique, involving three people, used by lesbians as a way of (indirectly) procreating? I've heard tales....

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at March 1, 2005 10:22 AM

Stu- what is with the "El Ingles"?

Posted by: eric at March 1, 2005 10:40 AM

eric- It's what they call me in the tequila bars of Tijuana. Also my nickname on IRC. Also a clue to my nationality.

Of course, the reference to "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is misleading since Robert Jordan was a yank.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at March 1, 2005 12:21 PM

I like Eric's take on honor: a man may not have wanted to have a child, and certainly should not be forced by a court to pay child support. However, if he finds out a child is his, I think he might do something besides pout and shout, whether it's spend a little time or send a little cash. I know intimately about this: I have a step-brother who will not see or have anything to do with the child he created. (And there was no turkey baster involved.) Now 15, his daughter only wants to meet her father, but he won't hear of it; the very request he feels is persecutorial. (He's always known of her existence, and has never contibuted a cent nor spoken with the mother since her pregnancy.)
I have a daughter whose father has contributed almost zero $$ in 15 years, but he gave her his time and love. This is enough, and of course he, too, is the richer for it.
This is not to say there are not women out there who want to bleed men; of course there are. But there are, I think, as many men who use the money-issue as a smokescreen when really, it's their own irresponsibility that keeps them from giving anything to their children.

Posted by: nancy at March 1, 2005 12:23 PM

> Responsibly, honorably.
> Yeh, I'm a throwback.

Love you.

> ...socking him with 21 years of child
> support payments to fulfill one's own
> desire of being a mother.

Love you for expressing that sentiment. The urge to motherhood seems to be the one impulse that society refuses to ask be contained. And it's really cool that you --as a girly coastal/parisienne fashion icon in the media elite-- understand this. But...

> We can control for being pregnant or not
> pregnant...and should.

Same with the guy. He bears final responsibility for the disposition of his goo. If he didn't want her to have it, he shouldn't have made such a point of giving it to her. The dinners, the flowers, the thrusting....

> This whole story is obscene.

Yeah. Do you suppose the judge, when he started law school, ever thought he'd have to listen to such tales? Is this what we want taking up time in our courts, hesaid/shesaids at this level of intimacy?

> He engaged in a behavior that resulted in
> a consequence.


Posted by: Cridland at March 1, 2005 12:59 PM

One other thing about this guy that came to me at lunch: what the hell kind of doctor is this guy? He would permanently stigmatize his daughter for a lousy thousand bucks a month? He had to have taken an oath to "do no harm" and attend ethics classes, but his actions will no doubt cause harm to this child as she grows up, knowing that her (biological) father publicly made an issue of never wanting her.

This is just like many divorces, a pissing contest on the grounds of principle. Every doctor I know, without exception, demands themself treated to a higher standard. So should they be held to a higher standard.

What we need here is a Brando Don Corleone to slap the shit out of this guy.

Stu- you need to check out Lewis Blacks latest CD, in which he discusses the difference between drinking in America vs. Ireland. It's great.

Posted by: eric at March 1, 2005 1:18 PM

Eric, you're the first person to mention that in this story. IMAGINE how that kid is going to be teased in the schoolyard.

Posted by: Cridland at March 1, 2005 1:34 PM

Here is my issue and why I don't think he is responsble.

I as gay man could leave my sperm deposit in another man's hand or in a condom or a man's mouth. He could then take that to any female and impregnate her. The child biologically would be mine but why would I be responble for her creation?

I think that woman was insane maybe that child needs to be put in protective custody. Who would do such a thing?

Posted by: alex at March 1, 2005 1:40 PM

Interesting point Alex, especially with cloning to become a factor in the future. I think a court would probably absolve you if you didn't ever engage in a sex act with the woman. Maybe not. Probably luck of the draw.

Maybe there will soon be some incentive for the pharmaceuticals to come up with an effective male contraceptive. Besides birkenstocks.

Posted by: eric at March 1, 2005 1:58 PM

I know where I am not going to go for Thanksgiving this fall...

Posted by: Doc Jensen at March 1, 2005 6:57 PM

Somebody is a liar. Let's see who'd take a lie detector test. Only a small percentage can fool the tool. If the woman did the bad thing, then she's on the hook for the support. The man could do the good human turn and be a good dad on the emotional side. And come around with gifts and hugs. Although this guy might not be a likely candidate given what we've read of all the acrimony.

If the guy is the liar, had straight up sex, then ratchet up the child support to his financial capacity. Do the deed, pay for the keed.

But what was I thinking? That would be way beyond the court's ability to establish the truth. In effect, our legal system does not seem as keen on finding truth as much as staying within arbitrary boundaries based on an individual's right to privacy. Some's gotta win, some's gotta lose, Goodtime Charlie's got the booze...blues.

Posted by: allan at March 1, 2005 7:46 PM

The sex act is irrelevant. The result is what matters- the little girl, and her best interests.

They are well educated wealthy people. Surely they can take care of a child in America. Maybe it is crazy of me, but is this too much too ask?

If not this child, does daddy get a cool sportscar? Plasma TV? This should be a no brainer. Life vs. money, simple.

Posted by: eric at March 1, 2005 8:07 PM

PS- The issue here is not about the money.

Someday that girl is going to need to know where she came from, and her roots. There is no getting around that.

OK- I am off the soapbox on this one.

Posted by: eric at March 1, 2005 8:12 PM

Seems like the consensus is that the guy is not *responsible* but that he should act in a manner that is beyond what mere responsibility would dictate. But this is fuzzy morality, as we can see when the sperm of a gay man is injected (forgive the pun) into the situation.

On a lighter note, it seems like turkey basters would make a nice addition to the medical device quicker at the fertility clinic. Feels kind of tender, doesn't it?

Posted by: Chris Wilson at March 1, 2005 9:32 PM

quiver, that is.

Posted by: Chris Wilson at March 1, 2005 9:32 PM

I sure don't want either of them for MY doctor. Why does she need his money?

Posted by: KateCoe at March 1, 2005 10:26 PM

Hell, why does she even need his BABY? I fear that every time the little girl throws a spoonful of apple sauce over the highchair, MommaDoc's going to say something like "That impulse is from your Daddy's side."

Posted by: Cridland at March 2, 2005 11:07 AM

Hi –

This is all turning out to be exceedingly complex … even without the baster …

Sweden: Sperm donor must support kids

A court in Sweden has ordered that a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple should pay child support. The court was told that Igor Lehnberg, 35, knew the mother of the children, Anna Bjurling, and her partner. Lehnberg agreed to donate sperm so the lesbian couple could have a family. They have three children, aged 10, 7 and 5, all by Lehnberg. When Bjurling split from her lesbian partner, she decided to sue Lehnberg for child support. The court ordered that Lehnberg pay child support, as he had legally stated he was the children's father on birth documents. Lehnberg argued he had only agreed to sign the papers so that the children would know the name of their father. He did not see it as legally taking responsibility for them. Under Swedish law same-sex couples enjoy many of the rights of heterosexual married couples. But they are not allowed to adopt children or undergo artificial insemination. It is not clear where Bjurling's insemination, which would have been illegal in Sweden, took place, the Associated Press reported . ((


Posted by: L'Amerloque at March 3, 2005 10:39 AM

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