What started as a child custody dispute between Jason Patric and a former girlfriend has evolved into a controversial, high-profile case that could change California law.
Patric, 47, star of The Lost Boys, Sleepers and My Sister’s Keeper, has become intimately intertwined with a California state bill that would give sperm donors the ability to sue for parentage rights.
As part of a fertility treatment, Patric donated sperm in 2009 to a former girlfriend, massage therapist Danielle Schreiber, that resulted in her pregnancy, according to ABC News. He then decided he wanted to help raise the child, Gus, now 3, but was thwarted in his attempts to gain partial custody.
Patric told the Los Angeles Times that he and and Schreiber agreed to have a child together and that he has had a “loving relationship” with his son.
“I cared for him, I supported him, I raised him along with his mother,” Patric said. “No child should have to endure a painful separation from a parent who loves that child because the other parent is no longer willing to share the child and asserts a legal technicality.”
Schreiber disputes Patric’s account, telling the Times: “When Jason offered me his sperm, it was under the condition that his donation never be made public and that he would not be a father to the child.”
In February, a judge ruled Patric was simply a donor and, because the couple are not together, he couldn’t sue for custody. But Patric told ABC he’ll continue his fight: “I just pray and I try to do everything I can legally, legislatively to have justice come.”
In August, the California state assembly is expected to vote on the bill – which would allow courts to grant parental rights to sperm donors under broader conditions, such as if a donor showed that he openly acknowledged the child as his own and received the child into his home.