Why do I need a legal agreement? What is it for?

June 29, 2023

Embryo donation falls under quasi property law with a significant family law component. The legal agreement is the official document that actually transfers all parental rights and responsibilities from the donor to the recipient. Beyond that, the agreement works out intentions between the parties regarding the donation.  It is beneficial for both parties!

Key elements include:

  • Relinquishment of all rights and responsibilities of any children born of the embryos from the donor to the recipient
  • Confirmation that the donor has rights to transfer embryo ownership to the recipient
  • Exact embryos to be donated
  • Tasks to be completed
  • Interaction/future contact expectations
  • Disclosure of known medical conditions, and expectations for how to communicate future medical conditions
  • Disclosure of the donors and recipients to one another and to the offspring
  • Disposition of remaining embryos when the recipient’s family is complete
  • Embryo donation reimbursements (Note: Donors cannot be paid for embryos. They can be reimbursed for donation related expenses)

The legal agreement is enforceable, particularly with respect to parentage and disposition. To note, there are no known cases that an embryo donor ever tried to assert custody of children born via embryo donation, or a recipient claiming child support, as the agreement is very clear on these terms.

Could any family law attorney represent us?

Embryo donation considerations are unique to third party reproductive law, and to embryo donation specifically!  An agreement drafted by a reproductive law attorney with embryo donation experience would provide a more thorough appreciation of the legal and family building considerations.

I trust the other person, why do we need two attorneys? And/or could we use a pre-drafted legal template?

We are not aware of any published cases of an embryo donation dispute, but it’s prudent to ensure the agreement is sound.  Attorneys help you understand the terms, and ensure that your interests are represented.   In the case that there would be a dispute, two attorneys protect against the argument that the other party didn’t understand the terms.