I have recently been witness to an argument between two acquaintances and since neither of them were lawyers, I offered to post to Law.SE to try and resolve it.
For context: since same-sex marriage became legal in USA, many newly married lesbian couples who cannot afford sperm bank/fertility services, use sperm donors, usually found either through interpersonal networks or various personals sites. From what I've been told, there's a significant amount of people who pursue this approach. Obviously, since you get what you pay for, unlike "official" fertility services, these come with certain medical as well as legal risks.
There is apparently a typical protocol involved in this to mitigate the legal risks, one part of which is that both parties sign some sort of "legal" release forms - in case of the donor, the document being signed states that they will not seek paternal rights in the future.
The argument I was witness to revolved around whether this sort of a document is legally enforceable, or is just a feel-good paper with notary seal on it.
My main contribution to the argument was that (1) neither one of them was a lawyer so the should really seek professional advice if this was a practical concern, and (2) I'm pretty sure state laws differ on the topic so the answer might be "it depends".
So, the exact question is:
A male sperm donor, who is not donating via a fertility clinic/sperm bank, signs a document stating that they relinquish future paternal/parental rights to the child conceived from their sperm. Later on, the donor changes their mind and seeks legal paternal/parental rights, such as visitation with the child. How legally enforceable is the document the donor signed in the eyes of the legal system?
You can assume that the document was written as well as it can be from the viewpoint of a lawyer familiar with that state's family law, and was notarized.
If the answer depends on jurisdiction, an example of a state where the answer is "yes" and one where the answer is "no" would suffice, although an explanation of how to tell the answer for any other arbitrary state would be desirable as well.