Court: Sperm donor has parental rights

Jan. 3, 2012 at 12:51 PM
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NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The Virginia Court of Appeals has ruled an unmarried man who donated sperm to his longtime girlfriend has parental rights even after the couple split.

The court overturned a lower court decision that Billy Breit of Virginia Beach had no parental rights, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday.

The appeals court, in overturning the lower court's decision, called it "a manifest absurdity."

Breit, an attorney, had a long-term, live-in relationship with Beverley Mason that yielded a daughter through in vitro fertilization using his sperm.

Before the July 2009 birth, the couple signed a written joint custody and visitation agreement in case they parted ways.

Four months later, the couple split, with Mason agreeing to visitation rights for Breit.

After about nine months, Mason stopped allowing the visits.

Mason declined to comment except to say she would prefer to keep the matter private for the sake of the child, The Virginian-Pilot said.

Breit fought the matter, losing in two lower courts before the appeals court overturned those decisions.

Breit said he still doesn't know when he will be able to see his daughter but hopes he and Mason can work out an amicable decision.

"I'm grateful to the courts for doing the right thing," he said. "I have a sense that the system works, but it's taken way too long."

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