As the science of reproduction evolves, the laws governing the process are lagging a bit behind. Because there may not be laws on the books to fill in the gaps, both egg donors and recipients must remain vigilant in protecting their rights and desires throughout the egg donation process. If you are considering egg donation either as a donor or recipient, here are some legal pitfalls to avoid.
Egg Donation Agreements
Both donors and recipients make a mistake when they rely on the medical consent forms at fertility clinics to establish the relationship between the parties. Unfortunately, these forms usually do not consider the laws regarding parental rights where the donor or recipient lives, the marital status of the recipients, the location of the clinic or birth of the child, and many other factors that can impact the parties' parental statuses. This lack of clarity can cause unintended and unfortunate consequences. To prevent this, both donors and recipients must work with an experienced attorney to draft a donation agreement that considers all of the issues.
A Child's Place of Birth And The Uniform Parentage
A child's place of birth can mean a lot when establishing who gets parental rights. Some states require the intended mother to go through a formal adoption to secure their parental rights. Other states have special rules about the parental rights of the father depending on who has provided sperm.
The Uniform Law Commission created the Uniform Parentage Act ("UPA") to help with these differences. The UPA is a law intended to standardize parental origin questions across the U.S. Although all states have adopted some form of the UPA, not all states have adopted the most recent version. Accordingly, your child's birthplace will determine the legal processes the intended parents will have to go through to secure their parental rights.
Intended Parents and Divorce or Death
When most people consider donating an egg or being the recipient of a donation, they don't think about what happens if the intended parents divorce or one passes away. If the donation agreement doesn't specify what happens in those circumstances, an intended parent might be unable to access the embryos if one parent dies. They also might be unable to require a co-parent to pay child support if the couple divorces. A well-drafted egg donation agreement will spell out what happens in death, divorce, and any other circumstances that may arise and will go along way in protecting the parties' rights.
How We Can Help
At Caulder and Valentine, we are committed to helping our clients create family planning strategies that meet their needs today and in the future. If you have questions about protecting your rights as an egg donor or recipient, contact our offices today to schedule a private consultation.