Do the Octuplets Have a Dad?

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.

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4 responses to “Do the Octuplets Have a Dad?

  1. The legal definition of fatherhood is rather wide, and to the extent that it is precise, it doesn`t necessarily conform with common understanding.

    In the one extreme, a boy who is the victim of statutory rape which results in the birth of a child, is recognized as a father and has to pay child support (when he turns 18). In the other extreme, the “known sperm donor” for a lesbian couple may function as a male role model for the children, and may even be called “dad”, but legally speaking, he is still a sperm donor.

    To make things even more complicated, the role of fathers may change with time. Anonymous sperm donors and the family they helped to create, find each other through the internet and form a new kind of family. Fathers who start out with a paternal role, find it reduced to that of a sperm donor in family court.

    • I’m going to draw a distinction here. There’s two questions. One is what does it mean to be legally recognized as a father? There’s an answer to that–it means you got a whole bunch of legal rights and obligations. And it’s the same set of rights for all legal fathers in a jurisdiction, no matter how they got to be legal fathers. (Note that I’m being careful here to say “legal father” as opposed to “father” or “social father.” It’s perfectly possible to be a legal father and not a social father or vice versa.)

      Then there is a second question–who gets recognized as a legal father? That’s where Nelly’s point fits in, I think. There are many different ways to get recognized as a legal father and they don’t all make sense if you line them up together.

  2. Has anyone seen these kids..pics. of them? The octuplets specificaly, while the girls resemble one another & three of the boys are darker complected with dark hair they resemble one another, and two other boys have blond hair are light complected and have brown eyes are simular to each other, the last of the eight..one boy is blonde with a very light complextion and blue eyes and resembles none of the others. While its clear to see no two or three even are “identical” twins or triplets in this large bunch, in fact none are “identicals”. Which are coming from an egg splitting once or more in the womb. (Maximum amount of splits from one egg is documented to be about five times, resulting in Identical quints) But here is rather an obvious eight seperate embreyos that grew, outta the said total of twelve seperate embreyos or eggs that were put into Nadya during the IVF. Therefore making all eight babies individuals, no two sharing the same DNA like any “identical” multiples do! Getting to my point 🙂 therefore in “identical” twins it is a definite that they will have the same father. Because the egg/embreyo usually splits after being fertilized by the males sperm. And as we all know only one sperm can get into & fertilize a womams egg. So Fraternal twins can have two different fathers but not identical twins. In natural (no IVF) pregnancies fraternal twins are possible to have different fathers if a woman sleeps with two different men while she is ovulating within so many hours of each man. Now (in IVF) its the same different men can father the kids in multiples. (But even in IVF identical twins cannot have two different fathers because that egg splits after being put in a woman womb. It can split multiple times and if multiple eggs are put in each egg can potentialy split creating multiple twins, triplets all within one multiple pregnancy..ie sextuplets etc.) Ok so my point is this..none of Nadya’s children of the octuplets look like any sets of identicles, which are fairly easy to spot by the human eye. Some “resemble” more closely to others as laid out above. Therefore due to the fact that the one boy looks so completely different than the rest..the blue-eyed-blonde haired-light complected one, it seems to me like ALL eight of these kids could have eight different biological fathers. Or some in the bunch may have the
    same bio-father. Like the two girls, the three darker complected boys, the two brown-eyed blonde boys and that one odd-one-out with blue eyes n blonde hair. Totaling four bio-fathers/sperm donors…but Id just find it very hard to believe All eight of these kids have the same bio-father/donor! Very long outline above but needed to explain why I have this opinion. Ty

  3. I don’t think your points are valid. I have three kids by the same guy, and they look different. Two look different enough from me that I have been asked if I was their nanny or babysitter.
    Certainly anyone with mixed heritage (I am European and Asian, the father is European and African) can end up with a variety of results in what their kids look like. I know Puerto Ricans with blue eyes, whose parents do not have blue eyes, plus also red hair (real red, not dyed) can appear as well.

    Anyone who says “they look different, obviously different fathers” is clueless. My blond-haired blue eyed son looks nothing like me, but looks like his paternal great-grandfather – no one closer.

    I ended up here having just watched “Million Dollar Babies” about the exploitation of the Dionne Quintuplets. I hope that the octuplets have a more normal life.

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