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Sperm donor tries to stay on birth papers

SYDNEY, May 24 (UPI) -- An Australian sperm donor is fighting to prevent the lesbian partner of his child's birth mother from removing his name from the baby's birth certificate.

Neil Richards, 58, of Sydney, answered the couple's magazine advertisement more than 10 years ago for a sperm donor and provided sperm to Jesse Star, 49, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

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Richards, who said he, Star and her partner, Sofia Marita, agreed he would be involved in the child's life but never determined exactly what that meant, also paid $5,000 for Star's fertility treatments, paid for the midwife who attended the home birth in August 2001, and paid $150 per week to support the child during her first year. He sees the girl 5 hours every two weeks.

The couple has since split up, but Marita has taken Richards and the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to court to have his name as one of the girl's parents removed from the birth certificate, the Herald reported.

Richards said he has gone through "10 years of hell," and has spent $50,000 on legal fees.

''It's a very depressing situation. The birth certificate is more than a bit of paper. It tells people who you are. No one seems to care about fathers these days," he said.

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A sperm donor has no legal parenting responsibilities and cannot make decisions about a child's medical needs or education, the newspaper said.

New South Wales law prohibits having three parents with legal responsibilities, the newspaper said.

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