Blood is Thicker Than Water, but is it Thicker Than Ink? An Analysis of Parenthood and Sperm Donor Agreements in the Wake of QG V CS (32200/2020) 2021 ZAGPPHC 366 (17 June 2021)
Authors: Bonginkosi Shozi, Roasia Hazarilall and Donrich Thaldar
Affiliations: LLB LLM PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar, Institute for Practical Ethics, UC San Diego, Honorary Research Fellow, University of KwaZulu-Natal; LLB, Masters candidate, University of KwaZulu-Natal; BLC LLB MPPS PGDip PhD, Professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Source: Stellenbosch Law Review, Volume 33 Issue 3, 2022, p. 529 – 547
The recent case of QG v CS (32200/2020) 2021 ZAGPPHC 366 (17 June 2021) concerns a sperm donor who applied to the court for parental responsibilities and rights in respect of a child conceived with his sperm. This is despite the fact that he had concluded a written agreement with the child’s legal parents before the child’s conception which stipulated, inter alia, that he would have no such responsibilities and rights in respect of the child. The ruling of the High Court in this case is a significant development in South African reproductive law, as the first case that deals with the legal position of a sperm donor with regard to a donor-conceived child. The following important legal principles that were laid down in the case are identified and analysed. First, there is no prohibition on a sperm donor or his family members from approaching the court in terms of section 23 or 24 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 to acquire parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the donor-conceived child. However, if a sperm donor or his family members bring an application in terms of section 23 or 24, they cannot rely on their genetic link with the donor-conceived child. Secondly, sperm donor agreements are in principle legal and enforceable, but the court is not bound to enforce provisions dealing with parental responsibilities and rights if it is of the opinion that such provisions are not in the best interests of the child. A sperm donor agreement may, however, be informative regarding the parties’ intentions. Criticism is expressed about the way in which the court dealt with the issues of the locus standi of donors and the psychological evaluation of donors and recepients where known donors are used.