Assisted reproductive technology (ART) includes many procedures that help couples start a family. Common techniques of ART include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), and third-party assisted procedures, such as surrogacy, gestational carriers, donor eggs, and donor sperm. ART has evolved as a medicine and science, so many legal issues and laws must be considered.
Artificial Insemination and Use of Donor Sperm
Some men have fertility related to sperm count, sperm shape, or sperm motility (movement). Sperm donors are often motivated by the desire to help others, and many rights and obligations exist for both the sperm donor and the intended recipient. A sperm donor essentially becomes a biological father to a child, so there are certain legal procedures that assure he does not have responsibilities to the unborn child.
Our fertility clinic recommends legal counsel and assists with contract preparation for intended parents and sperm donors. Issues addressed include advising clients of their responsibilities and rights and giving referrals to qualified counsel for certain agreement relations. In addition, we prepare letters of release for fertility specialist involved with the sperm donation. If you need to build your family using artificial insemination and sperm donation, review the legal issues and make informed decisions.
Surrogacy and Gestational Carriers
When it comes to having a child, surrogacy offers a prime opportunity for women who are physically incapable of childbirth. Most states permit both traditional and gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy involves use of artificial insemination of a willing female, called a surrogate. This woman provides the egg and carries the child. Gestational surrogacy involves use of in vitro fertilization. The intended mother provides the eggs and the gestational surrogate carries the pregnancy, or donor eggs are used.
Surrogacy and gestational carrier services involves contracts to clarify the concerned parties’ expectations and preserve the rights of all parties involved. Contracts include issues related to medical screenings and costs, surrogate compensation, psychological screenings and costs, life insurance, attorney fees, and various medical expenses. Legal representatives can assist with negotiating surrogacy contracts to guide intended parents through the steps of the legal process.
Agreements for Egg and Sperm Donors
In certain states, a woman can use donated sperm without the sperm donor having rights to the child. The woman’s domestic partner becomes the legal parent. Because the sperm donor could later claim he had intercourse with the child’s mother, certain legal agreements and documentation should exist. For women who serve as egg donors, the egg cannot be donated without medical assistance. The woman cannot make claims that she was not willing to turn over the eggs, but she may later assert that she wishes to have access to the child. Because of these concerns, the intended parents need a well-drafted ART contract considering egg donation.
Spouses Rights in ART
In many states, if a woman uses ART to give birth, her spouse or registered domestic partner is recognized as the other legal parent. However, the spouse or partner may choose to adopt the child to be legally recognized as a parent. This is often a concern of same-sex partners or spouses. If adoption is advised by legal counsel, the cooperation of the egg donor may be required. An ART agreement will show that the egg donor agrees to cooperate with the intended parents’ wishes.