Assisted reproduction technology deals with the technology used to achieve pregnancy in procedures such as fertility medication, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. There are many potential legal problems that can arise when a couple or individual seeks to become, or help others become parents through the use of assisted reproduction technology and as such, it is important to have an agreement in place before these issues arise to protect both parties’ interests.
Sperm Donor/Egg Donor Agreements
When choosing a donor, there are three options; known donors, donors with released identities and anonymous donors.
- Known donors are likely individuals who are close friends or loved ones
- Donors who release their identities are donors who at the time of conception, their identity is anonymous, but agree to allow their identity to be released once the child turns 18
- Anonymous donors are individuals who do not agree to disclosure of their identity at anytime
When a couple or individual enters into an agreement with a sperm or egg donor, it is of utmost importance that the agreement be written in a way to safeguard against any legal rights of the donor to the child. Specifically, the agreement must adhere to legal rules to ensure the donor is viewed as a legal donor versus the child’s legal father or mother.
There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational.
- The term traditional surrogacy means the woman carrying the child is also that child’s genetic mother because conceived using the intended fathers sperm and her own egg
- The term gestational surrogacy means the woman carrying the child is not genetically related to the child because the embryo is created in vitro and transferred into the carrier’s uterus
Like any other assisted reproduction services, a surrogacy agreement needs to include specific criteria to protect all parties involved. Specifically, the contract must identify the source of the gametes, the compensation for the surrogacy services, which party is to hold on the funds in escrow, what the behaviors will be expected of the parents and the surrogate, how the procedure will take place, how the surrogate’s medical expenses will be paid for, and a plan to ensure the intended parents become the legal parents and the surrogate has no legal right to the child upon birth.
Co-Maternity Agreements and Embryo Donation
The term co-maternity agreement deals with couples that wish to use the eggs of one partner to combine with a selected sperm donor to fertilize embryos and transfer those embryos to the uterus of the desired partner. Embryo donation deals with the transfer of already combined, and typically frozen embryos to either a prospective parent or a chosen surrogate.
No matter what the assisted reproduction technology you choose to be the right fit for you and your family, having an attorney experienced in this area of the law is extremely important to protect the rights of all parties involved before any litigation has the chance to occur. Contact our office to discuss how we can best assist you today.
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