Attorneys, Contracts and Baby Making: What Donor Egg Recipient Parents Need to Know

Attorneys, Contracts and Baby Making: What Donor Egg Recipient Parents Need to Know

Many prospective parents will raise, early on in their donor egg decision making, concerns about donor reliability as well as worry that a donor may return, following the cycle, making claims to that family the recipients have worked so very hard to achieve. Donor Egg Agreements, direct contracts between the donor and the recipient can provide for the prospective parent a level of protection and comfort that will allow for an easier next step in their family building journey.

Certainly, we have all heard the tragic stories of hopeful parents who have relied on the internet for independent identification of a donor (and/or perhaps even a surrogate) only to then have the arrangement break down, or those who have found their donor through a clinic or an agency but who have been advised that a direct agreement with the donor is unnecessary. Because the risks are high for those who are not legally/contractually engaged with their donor, prospective parents who are foregoing donor egg agreements can find themselves contending with circumstances that might have been avoided, had both the parent and donor been required to seek independent legal counsel.

An Egg Donor Agreement, in its simplest reference, is a document that indicates to anyone reviewing the donation arrangement, what the intentions of the parties were at the time of the donation. Most agreements are approximately 20/25 pages in length and while many issues are addressed, a well-written contract will state, clearly and repeatedly, amongst other things, that it is the expectation of both the donor and the recipient that no rights be retained by the donor to the eggs, the embryos and/or to the child or children resulting from the cycle. This matter seems to be of greatest concern for prospective parents.

While recipients and donors may be advised that clinic consent forms also protect the parents from any future claims made by the donor, a direct agreement is significantly more compelling given that the donor signs the contract under the advisement of her (independent) attorney. Recipient parents want their donor to truly provide informed consent not only to the medical aspects of the cycle but also to the legal and social considerations. For those parents who do pursue an Egg Donor Agreement, they can proceed with a level of confidence knowing that their donor has met with and been advised by a legal professional on matters not only related to relinquishment of parental rights but also with respect to donor compliance, future contact and specific terms as to how and when she will be compensated. Not only, then, does the Egg Donor Agreement provide protections to the parents but it also clearly defines for the donor what she can expect before, during and after the cycle.

Most Reproductive Law attorneys will provide gratis initial phone consults to those considering donor egg. There are many ways a prospective parent can go about identifying an attorney skilled in this area of law. Both RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association as well as The American Fertility Association, our nation’s two largest patient advocacy non-profits, have professional directories. The American Bar Association can also provide names of attorneys who are members of their Assisted Reproductive Technology Law section. There are many blogs and other writing on this matter, as well. Any party, parent or donor, may find value in further researching the benefits of direct contracts in egg donation and will do well to become educated about donor contracts before actually beginning a cycle.


Prepared by Amy Demma, Esq for Law Offices of Amy Demma. This is copy protected content and intended for personal use by fertility patients or prospective parents only. Unauthorized use or distribution is prohibited. Further, the copy protected content in any Law Offices of Amy Demma materials is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, medical or other counsel upon which reader should rely. Individual consult is advised for best family building strategy.

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