The lesbian who had two children with her civil partner after fireman Andy Bathie donated his sperm has said today he had behaved as a full-time father and should take financial responsibility for the children.
Mr Bathie has to pay £450 a month toward bringing up the two children produced using his sperm.
He has insisted he was only a donor and did not want take an active role in raising the kids.
But the mother, Terri Arnold, from Clacton, Essex told GMTV that Bathie changed his mind and regularly saw his four-year-old daughter.
She said: “At first the idea was that he wasn’t going to have anything to do with the children.
“He said he was going to draw up a contract saying he had no responsibility for the children and that he would be Uncle Andy.
“He was Uncle Andy but after the christening he said he didn’t want to be the uncle – he wanted to be the daddy. He was seeing her roughly once a month – she would stay over at his house.”
Ms Arnold became pregnant after a DIY artificial insemination.
She said: “We were going to go to a clinic (to arrange a sperm donor), we approached our GP about it, but then Andy offered. He said it was probably his only chance to be a father. Andy was a friend of my partner and we trusted him.”
Ms Arnold added: “We’ve got photographs of our little girl at his home, we’ve got a box full of birthday and Christmas cards from him saying ‘from daddy.’
“He bought her a silver trinket box and engraved it ‘daddy’. He had been seeing her for two years, she became very attached to him.”
Two years after her birth Mr Bathie became the couple’s sperm donor for a second time and Ms Arnold gave birth to a boy.
Ms Arnold, 25, said: “When we had the second child, we had a long discussion about it and we agreed he was going to have the same responsibility and he said, ‘Fine, I’d love to have another one.’ He went into it with his eyes wide open.”
Ms Arnold, who has since split from her partner, said that shortly after the birth of the boy, now two, Mr Bathie stopped seeing his children.
She said Mr Bathie is not named as the children’s father on their birth certificates but claims she was forced to give his name to the Child Support Agency (CSA) when they threatened to cut her income support.
Ms Arnold said that she would be pursuing the case even if she and her partner were still together.
She added: “He’s portrayed me as just being after his money but I’m not. I don’t care about his money. I just care about my kids, his kids.
“You can’t play at being a dad for two years and then just leave. Our little girl kept asking when she was going to see her daddy again – what can you say to a child?
“The money is not for me, it’s for their food, clothes and shoes. This is about a principle and I’ll fight all the way. He wanted to be a father but he doesn’t want the financial responsibility.”
Mr Bathie, from Enfield, has launched a legal challenge, thought to be the first of its kind, so that he is not recognised as a legal parent to the children.
He said: “These women wanted to be parents and take on all the responsibilities that brings. I would never have agreed to this unless they had been living as a committed family.”
Mr Bathie has said he cannot afford to have a family with his wife because of support payments he now has to pay.
Ms Arnold said she was surprised by Bathie’s claims of his desire for his own children: “That’s funny because just before he stopped seeing his daughter, he informed us that he and his girlfriend at the time did not want children.”