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Steven S. v. Deborah D.
California Court of Appeal
25 Cal. Rptr. 3d 482 (2005)
Steven S. (plaintiff) agreed to provide semen to Deborah D. (defendant) for artificial insemination. Deborah became pregnant but was unable to carry the baby to term. Steven and Deborah then began a sexual relationship. After the sexual relationship ended, Deborah sought to become pregnant again. Deborah scheduled an appointment for the insemination procedure, which Steven attended with her for support. The artificial insemination was successful, and Deborah informed Steven that she was pregnant. Throughout Deborah’s pregnancy, Steven accompanied her to doctor visits. When the baby was born, Deborah called Steven to inform him that he was a father. Steven remained present in the baby’s life, and when the baby turned three, Steven filed a petition to establish paternity and parental rights. Deborah objected and argued that under California law, the donor of semen used for artificial insemination by a physician is not treated as the natural father absent a marital relationship between the donor and the mother. The trial court found for Steven, concluding that although the baby was conceived through artificial insemination and Deborah and Steven were unmarried, Deborah was estopped from denying Steven’s paternity because of the previous sexual relationship and because public policy favors a finding of paternity. Deborah appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hastings, J.)
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