A British man who donated sperm to allow a lesbian couple to have a baby was criticized Tuesday after claiming he is being unfairly forced to pay for the child.
In a case fuelling ethical debate in Britain, Andy Bathie, 37, says he was given guarantees by Sharon and Terri Arnold that he would have no emotional or financial responsibility for the baby conceived from his donation.
He claimed Monday the government's Child Support Agency (CSA) was demanding he pay thousands of pounds (euros, dollars) after the lesbian couple split up, saying the financial strain means he cannot start a family with his wife.
But Terri Arnold said Tuesday that, although originally he had no responsibility, Bathie had changed his mind and had become involved in the child's upbringing.
"What people don't understand is that they have only heard one side of the story. He was a father to the children, a dad. He played a father's role for two years of their, well, my daughter's life," she told GMTV.
She confirmed that the couple approached Bathie five years ago after they "married" in a civil ceremony, and admitted that initially the accord was for him to simply be a sperm donor.
"I will openly admit to that, but it was him that changed his mind. He wanted to be involved, he wanted to be a dad," she added, saying that he had looked after the girl one weekend every month.
At the heart of the dispute is the fact that, under British law, only men who donate sperm anonymously through licensed fertility clinics are not considered the legal father of any resulting child.
"Men giving out their sperm in any other way... are legally the father of any children born with all the responsibilities that carries," said a spokesman for Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
In Bathie's case, the donation was a private arrangement.
Bathie said Monday: "I don't have any particular ill will. It's the fact that I still even now don't see why I should have to pay for another couple's children."