Legal Rights of Egg Donors and Recipients

30 May Legal Rights of Egg Donors and Recipients

Prospective parents inquire about donor reliability and other issues early on in the egg donation decision-making process, as well as before and after the procedure. Many couples worry the donor will return and make claims to the baby. So, to have comfort and protection, certain legal rights exist for both donors and recipients.

Egg Donor Agreement

The egg donor agreement is a legal document that specifies the donation agreement as well as the intentions of the parties. Most donor agreements are around 20 pages in length and address issues such as the expectations of the recipient and the donor.

In addition, to the rights of both parties to the eggs, embryos, and/or child/children that results from the cycle. Prospective parents who use this egg donor agreement can proceed with confidence, knowing that the donor has agreed to their terms and all parental rights are relinquished. In respect to the egg donor, she can be assured she will not have to provide for the unborn child. The egg donor agreement defines what can be expected before, during, and after the cycle.

Consultation with Legal Advisors

Due to the high risks involved in the egg donor process, prospective parties wish to be protected to avoid uncomfortable legal consequences. During this process, our reproductive law attorney provides an initial phone consultation, as well as additional consultations in person.

To find an outside attorney, clients may wish to consult the National Infertility Association or the American Fertility Association, which have patient advocates to counsel prospective parents and egg donors. Clients will find value in researching the egg donation process, understanding the various considerations, and gaining knowledge about the various legal issues.

Embryo Adoption Laws

More than 150,000 in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles are done each year, which means many embryos are left over. The unused embryos may be destroyed, or frozen, in case the couple requires another chance to conceive. Embryo adoption is a viable alternative for some recipients choosing IVF. Embryo adoption laws vary from state to state, with many states adhering to general assisted-reproduction technology (ART) laws regarding the various procedures and processes of ART.

Most states specify that donors of both sperm and egg do not have legal parental rights to the child at birth. Embryo adoption is also covered by usual legal and contract law agreements between donors and recipients. All forms of ART are quite expensive. Aside from fulfilling a couple’s desire to conceive a child, one advantage of using donated eggs or adopting frozen embryos is that this cost less than a full IVF treatment.  

Letter of Legal Clearance

A letter of legal clearance summarizes the terms of the agreement between both parties and for the fertility clinic. Many matters are addressed in this document, and it shows how attorney(s) inform the clinic of the expectations and intensions of both parties. Usually, this letter informs the fertility center of the following:

  • If the recipients have agreed that cycle results can be shared with the donor.
  • If the donor has agreed to reach recipients if problems occur during the cycle.
  • If the recipients can dispose of excess frozen embryos.
  • If recipients can donate embryos to scientific research.
  • If recipients can donate embryos to another couple.
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