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High Court rules sperm donor is daughter’s legal father, stopping her moving overseas with mother

By Elizabeth Byrne

A man who donated his sperm to a friend with the belief he could play a role in the child’s life has wona High Court fight sparked by the mother’s decision to move to New Zealand with their biological child.

The decision by the court overturns an appeal the girl’s mother and her wife won and reaffirms an earlier ruling that ordered they remain in Australia and consult him on major parenting decisions.

The court heard the man, given the pseudonym Robert, initially agreed to donating his sperm to his friend, and was of the belief he would be involved in his child’s life.

The girl was conceived in 2006 and in the intervening years he maintained a close relationship with her, introducing her to his extended family and volunteering at her school canteen.

Both the girl and her sister, who is not related to Robert, call him “daddy”.

The legal fight began when the mother and her same-sex partner, given the pseudonyms Susan and Margaret, decided to move to New Zealand, a decision Robert challenged in the Family Court.

The initial ruling was in his favour, finding there was more to being a father than biology, and that ultimately Robert should be a parent.

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