Gay dad from Basildon being pursued by CSA after giving sperm to a lesbian friend (From Southend Standard)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
Gay dad from Basildon being pursued by CSA after giving sperm to a lesbian friend
A GAY dad is being pursued for child support payments after he donated sperm to a lesbian friend so she could have children.
Mark Langridge, 47, from Laindon, fathered two children with the woman he had met when he was out clubbing with his long-time partner Shaun Keeble.
Openly gay Mr Langridge became a father to the first child in 1998 and then again in 1999- he met the woman at a gay and lesbian monthly club night called Bliss in Southend.
His involvement with the children was very limited but Mr Langridge's life said his life was turned upside down in June when the Child Support Agency (CSA) wrote to him, demanding payments from him as the biological father.
Although Mr Langridge did not make the sperm donation officially, he is legally considered to be the biological father and has no choice but to make the payments until both children have completed school.
Mr Langridge, who shares a home with Mr Keeble, 37, said: "The last few months have been a complete nightmare. When I come home I am dreading to see what letter and demand has landed on our doorstep.
"When I made the sperm donation, it was to a friend to help make her dreams come true, yet all these years later it has turned nasty and I now feel as if I am the victim of a blackmail plot, supported by the state."
He is now facing having to pay £8,000 if he makes the payments, which are currently set at £26 per week.
The only way he can protest again the ruling is by taking his case to a Judicial Review, which could cost in the region of £30,000.
Mr Langridge said he only made the donation to his then friend because she assured him that she was financially stable and would not need support.
When the children were young, he remained in touch with the mother - seeing his children at events such as barbecues and was surprised when he was introduced as their dad even though his name does not feature on either of their birth certificates.
His friendship with the girls' mother deteriorated as time passed because she was making more and more demands on him to be a father figure and since 2004 there was no direct contact.
Mr Langridge added: "Me and Shaun were not interested in having children of our own so when the idea was suggested, we thought it sounded like a lovely thing to do.
"I did not ask for anything to be documented legally and with hindsight perhaps I should have done, but I have a solicitor friend who I discussed the issue with at the time and she is prepared to stand up in court for me if it comes down to it.
"It was purely an act of kindness on my part and now I am being made to pay and unless the law is changed I will be liable.
"I did not have any input on their names, their choice of schools and their upbringing yet now I am being made to pay.”