Signing An Egg or Embryo Donation Service Agreement ?

Signing An Egg or Embryo Donation Service Agreement ?

Following up on a previously posted blog, entitled, “Choosing An Agency”, today I would like to speak to prospective parents about the agency service agreement. Folks who are signing up with an egg or embryo donation agency will typically be asked to sign a contract with that agency, essentially agreeing that you will pay a certain fee in exchange for certain services. These contracts read like most other contracts for services : you are informed of what services you can expect, for how long you can expect these services, how much and when you will pay for these services and what, if any, refund may be available to you.

Given, however, that egg and embryo donation services are quite unique and largely unregulated (certain consumer regulations do apply, but these are broad in nature), it is wise, if time allows, that an attorney familiar with standard practices in egg or embryo donation review the terms of the agreement before you sign. In fact, many agency service agreements have provisions that reference your having had the time to consult with an attorney before signing (note: this language is put into the contract to protect the agency, it implies that by signing the agreement you are doing so in an informed way or that you have waived the opportunity to have an attorney explain the terms of the contract). Most clients, however, are understandably so very focused on booking their selected donor and getting on with their cycle, that they bypass an attorney review. Considering that most agency service agreements call for fees upwards of $5,000.00, I do hope that the prospective parent also understands that he/she/they are entering into a significant business transaction with the agency and that an attorney experienced in agency practices and standard policies will have important insight to offer.

Through out the United States there are many, many agencies that offer best practices to their clients, and, as recommended in several of my blogs, your clinic, your mental health provider, other parents pursuing family building through egg donation can recommend to you agencies you ought to consider. (I highly recommend Parents Via Egg Donation: www.pved.org as a forum to connect with others who have either worked with or are also considering an egg or embryo donor for family building.)

Once your agency search has been narrowed, after you’ve moved on to donor selection, reach out to a reproductive lawyer so that your interests not only as a prospective parent can be addressed but certain matters related to the business of agency transactions can be explained to you allowing for a clear path to the best possible cycle.

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