All this time the octuplets mother has been described as a single mother. Indeed, I’ve discussed this before. But now here is a new angle on it. A man, identified as Denis Beaudoin, has come forward asserting that he is the sperm donor whose sperm was used to create all fourteen of the children.
Perhaps he is. But it might be worth mentioning that even assuming he is the donor he is not, by operation of law, the father of the children. Under California law a sperm donor is not generally a father.
Indeed, it strikes me as ludicrous to consider him a father under any scheme. He apparently dated Suleman from 1997-99, well before the birth of any of these children. He’s clearly never functioned in any paternal or parental role.
Of somewhat greater interest to me is the note in the ABC story that Suleman was married until January 2008. Now California is among the states that has a marital presumption. That means that if a married woman gives birth to a child there are circumstances under which her husband is presumed to be the father. Indeed, there are circumstances under which that presumption may be conclusive–that is, where the husband is indisputably the father. This generally requires the passage of a couple of years after the birth of the child in question. I’m not sure if it is applicable here. I also noticed that the divorce decree says there are no children of the marriage, but I’m not sure what the effect of that is.
I’m not an expert on California law, but it strikes me as more likely that the ex-husband is the father of some of the older children than that the sperm donor is. But even that’s rather silly. I gather the ex-husband has had no involvement with the kids at all.
I’m really not sure what to make of the rush to label the sperm donor the father. Most likley I should chalk it up to the press eager to wring one more story out of this circus, I suppose. But again, it hardly gives much of a model for what it means to be a father.