Helping clients navigate their family building journey.
Egg or Sperm Donor
The Egg or Sperm Donor
Whether working with a Sperm Donor or Egg Donor, it is imperative you work with an attorney who can explain the legal complications of working with known donors. Jennifer has represented Recipients and Donors for years. She has handled both known and anonymous donor arrangements, family donation arrangements as well as Embryo donation arrangements.
The laws pertaining to Egg Donors are more permissive than with a surrogate. While just about every state has a law making it illegal to sell eggs, it is not illegal to compensate a woman for her time and inconvenience to go through the process to donate her eggs. And the Egg Donor's time and effort is not inconsequential.
After successfully completing medical and psychological screening, the Egg Donor undergoes a few weeks of daily fertility injections to prepare herself for the Egg Retrieval, which must be timed to coincide with the Gestational Surrogate's menstrual cycle.
The Egg Donor need not reside in the same state as the Gestational Surrogate. In fact, she can begin her monitoring during her fertility medications at a clinic close to where she lives. As the time approaches for the Egg Retrieval, the clinic performing the Egg Retrieval and Transfer Procedure will require regular access to the Donor for monitoring.
Likewise, a Sperm Donor is compensated for his participation in the process through not nearly as much as an Egg Donor since the process for obtaining Sperm is much easier than obtaining Eggs. In most cases when donor sperm is needed intended parents choose to use anonymous sperm donors through a Cryobank, however, some families, particularly lesbian families often use a known donor for personal reasons. The laws pertaining to known sperm donors are much different than the use of an anonymous donor through a Cryobank. It is important that both the intended parents and the donor have separate counsel as the contract must be clear and the legal risks understood by all parties.
The Egg or Sperm Donor can be completely anonymous, partially anonymous, or an acquaintance of the intended parents.
It is important to have a written legal agreement between the intended parents and the Egg or Sperm Donor if using either a partially known or known Donor. This agreement will delineate fully and clearly the rights of the parties. It will make clear that the Donor voluntarily relinquishes all rights to the eggs or sperm and also neither has rights to make any decisions over the fate of any embryos nor any parental rights over any child(ren). The agreement will also protect the Egg or Sperm Donor by making it clear that the resulting child is the child of the intended parents'. It will also stipulate that the Egg or Sperm Donor has no parental obligations over such child, regardless of whether the child is born with any birth defects or other problems. As with the Surrogacy contract, you can protect the viability of the Donor agreement by paying an agreed-upon sum for the Donor to have independent legal representation.
Each situation is fact specific and depending of the family type and parties involved there may be different issues that need to be resolved and different levels of participation by a donor. For example, a known sperm donor to a lesbian couple will likely have to consent to a second parent adoption after the child is born even if there is a sperm donor agreement stating the donor has no parental rights. This may change as the law catches up to technology but working with a experienced professional is the best way to limit the risks involved and protect your family.