Craigslist Sperm Donor Who Stalked Mom Part of Growing Dilemma - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Craigslist Sperm Donor Who Stalked Mom Part of Growing Dilemma

AOL HEALTH.COM - A California mom who had a baby with a sperm donor she met on Craigslist saw her world turned upside down after the donor lied, stalked her and ultimately sued her for full custody of her son.

The woman, a 40-something Los Angeles writer who asked to be identified only as Karen B., tells AOL Health that she avoided using an anonymous donor because she wanted her child to know his dad. One of her friends jokingly suggested she try classified-ad site Craigslist.

"I posted an ad, and this guy also posted an ad saying he wanted to be a sperm donor," she says. "So we met, and I had my friends meet him, and everyone said he seemed like a good guy. It took me over a year to conceive, so during that time he just acted like a good guy."

But instead, Karen found herself living out a nightmare after Daniel C. became far more involved than she and her lesbian partner could have imagined. She says he told lies; inserted himself into her life; harassed her; and tried to take the boy, now 3, on trips to his native Brazil when the baby was only 8 months old.

Eventually, Daniel sued Karen for joint legal and physical custody of their son.

Their case, featured on ABC News, is not unusual, particularly since a growing number of people are turning to known sperm donors rather than anonymous ones. In Karen's case, the lines were blurred.

Sheryl A. Kingsberg, Ph.D. and division chief of OB/GYN Behavioral Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, says Karen may have been misinformed about her options.

"She may have been uninformed to think there are only two choices -- to be completely anonymous or to know the sperm donor directly," Kingsberg, who isn't involved in the case, tells AOL Health. "There are ways for women to find donors who are open to being identifiable to offspring. The way sperm banks work [is] you can request information."

Kingsberg warns that even though knowing the sperm donor or using a family friend might seem like a good option, there are many potential pitfalls to consider.

"Have a legal contract and go through a fertility clinic," she suggests. "And if gay men want to be parents, they should adopt or find a gestational carrier/egg donor."

Karen didn't like the idea of using an anonymous sperm donor, since it had caused a friend turmoil to not know who her real father was. She planned to use a family friend, but after learning that he was HIV positive, her options began to look slim. Then single, she desperately wanted to be a mom and knew she was running out of time.

"I went through my Palm Pilot and looked at all my male friends. The straight ones -- their wives and girlfriends were like 'no way.' And a lot of the gay ones were HIV positive," she tells AOL Health.

She was relieved to find and meet Daniel, who is also gay, at first. But everything changed when she accompanied him to the doctor's for a sperm analysis.

"When we got there, he said that he had told them we were married," she says. "He thought we'd be discriminated against if we told the truth -- that he was gay and I was gay. So he started this charade, and I played along with it."

Karen never dreamed of the consequences that would result from their ruse.

"At first I thought it was funny because he was holding my hand and we were playing around," she says. "When the doctor asked questions, I would defer to him, since it was his doctor. But then this doctor became my doc, too, and by then I felt like I couldn't come out and tell the truth because maybe he wouldn't see us anymore, and it was the highest-rated fertility clinic."

Her lawyer, Ilene Trabolsi, says there are laws in place to guard the rights of both mothers and sperm donors for a reason.

"The law is there to protect not only the mother but also the sperm donor so that a guy who donates sperm doesn't get hit up for child support," Trabolsi tells AOL Health.

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