Black lesbian couple sued by sperm donors

Sheena and Tara Yates

The decision to conduct artificial insemination at home has not gone well for a Black lesbian couple from New Jersey. Sheena and Tiara Yates already had a child through the at home method and wanted a sibling for their toddler. As in the previous alternative insemination procedure, the couple drew up a contract between the sperm donor.  In the contract the donor would relinquish any parental rights over the child conceived.

However, in December 2013 and April 2014, both sperm donors sued for parental visitation rights. Now the case may make history because of New Jersey state law concerning artificial insemination. It turns out that in New Jersey, it is only when the process is carried out under the direct supervision of a doctor that the non-biological parent can legally be considered the natural parent of the child. Visitation rights were eventually granted for both fathers and the Yateses are appealing the decision of with the Superior Court of New Jersey.

“Emotionally it’s very hard for us. All we want is a family, and we can’t have kids without an outside party. It’s a lot for us to have to deal with. It’s not just hard on us; it’s hard on the kids, too,” said Sheena Yates.

The Yates family’s attorney, John Keating, is arguing that the rule requiring doctor supervision unfairly impacts low-income families who cannot afford the high costs of traditional artificial insemination methods.

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