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Challenges to align modern family and the law continue

We have written quite a bit in the past about the challenges courts in Texas and elsewhere face in trying to sort out the legal status of the modern family. Very often, as in the case of actor Jason Patric, the law finds itself playing catch-up.

As readers may recall, the question in contention in Patric's case is whether he has any legal rights to pursue a custody dispute as the father of his son, Gus. That he is Gus' natural father is not the issue, he provided the sperm donation that allowed the in-vitro fertilization of his then-girlfriend.

She went on to deliver Gus and for several years it appears the three functioned as a family. When the adults broke up, though, Patric wound up cut off from Gus and he's been fighting to assert father's rights ever since. As of this writing, the issue is still not resolved. The last known action in the case from last November had a judge in California declaring that Patric is the legal father of Gus and that he has the right to seek custody and visitation rights. And Patric has vowed to continue his struggle.

Meanwhile, a case that approaches the issue of donated sperm from a different perspective has hit the radar, this time in Houston. A Louisiana man sued a Houston fertility clinic, a doctor, and a former girlfriend alleging that the ex had stolen his sperm and that the clinic had facilitated her getting pregnant with it, without proper consent.

Joining him in the suit was another former girlfriend. The man and that woman had entered into the sperm bank contract together and according to court records she was supposed to have retained all control over what happened to the deposit.

Earlier this month, a jury in Houston ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. The panel found the clinic guilty of breach of contract and the ex-girlfriend who had used the sperm of causing mental anguish.

Both defendants were ordered to pay monetary damages, but the man's attorney suggests it may be more important in showing how "reproductive technology is outpacing the law."

Source: Breitbart.com, "Texas jury finds against ex-girlfriend who 'stole' ex-s sperm contracted to another woman," Lana Shadwick, Aug. 23, 2015

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