Any individual or couple seeking to expand their family through an egg, embryo, or sperm donation should have a valid Donor Agreement in place. A Donor Agreement is a written contract clearly defining the rights and responsibilities of both the donor and the intended recipient(s), during all stages of conception. Without having a valid Donor Agreement, issues such as custody claims and financial obligations may arise.
The types of donations are sperm, egg or ova, and embryo donation. Depending on the type of donation, the agreement may be called a sperm donation agreement, an egg or ova donation agreement, or an embryo donation agreement. Regardless of which type of donation you require, it is always recommended that you seek advice from an experienced attorney before any donation is made to ensure you fully understand your rights and obligations and that of the donor.
Do Donors Have Rights to the Child?
Generally anonymous and discoverable donors do not have any parental rights or responsibilities for the child as part of the terms of their donation to a genetic material bank. Known donors can sometimes present legal complications associated with their parental rights and responsibilities if they are not addressed in a donor agreement because the donation is direct to the intended parent(s) rather than to a genetic material bank. For this reason, we recommend these issues be resolved in a written donor agreement drafted by an attorney experienced in surrogacy, donation of genetic material, and assisted reproduction before any genetic donation is made.
What Do Donor Agreements Include?
Since every situation is different, Donor Agreements can be tailored to each individual situation. Our attorneys work closely with you to identify your goals and ensure that your wishes are clearly stated in the agreement. Generally, the issues that agreements address can include:
- Legal representation of the parties.
- Rights of the recipients.
- Parental termination rights and liabilities for the child as well as the child’s inability to inherit from the donor’s estate.
- Any and all medical testing that the donor should complete, such as HIV testing or other medical conditions, including genetic and chromosomal conditions.
- Disclosure of any and all known medical and/or hereditary conditions by the donor.
- The number and frequency of donations to be made and disposal of unused donations.
- The amount and terms of any compensation to be paid to the donor if any.
- The assumption of any medical risks.
- Any additional financial arrangements between the parties, and details of what expenses are to be paid by whom.
- Any contact with the donor and the child in the future.
- Any agreement for the donor to refrain from certain activities in a specified time period prior to donation, such as risky sexual behavior or intravenous drug use.
The adoption of the child, if necessary.
The attorneys at Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law firm understand the excitement and joy planning for and creating a family can bring. We are thoroughly prepared to guide intended parents and donors through the entire process. We provide comprehensive legal advice to ensure our clients are able to make informed decisions about using donated genetic material. If you have questions about a Donor Agreement, or any issue surrounding Assisted Reproduction Technology, surrogacy, egg or ova donation, sperm donation, or embryo donation, call our team at (919) 838-7160.