Many women take advantage of donating their eggs to help couples that are unable to conceive. Egg donation is a medical process and the woman donating her eggs is most often paid. It isn’t an easy process to donate your eggs. You must answer a medical questionnaire, be put on a list of donors, and undergo a rigorous treatment process.
Egg donation falls under a set of laws known as reproductive law. This set of laws governs the legal rights and freedoms in regards to reproduction and reproductive health. These laws can vary from state to state. By law, your last name will be kept from the individual or couple (recipient) that chooses you as the donor. This protects your privacy. You are under no obligation to meet the recipient receiving your egg. Should you mutually decide that you want to meet, this is handled through the clinic that set up the donation.
A contract will be completed by you and the recipient. The contract will cover many things including your rights and responsibilities as a donor. It will also cover the rights of the child that may result from the egg donation. The child that is born from this procedure legally belongs to the recipient. You will have no parental rights over the child despite your blood relation. You have the right to ask questions about the contract. Make sure that you understand exactly what you are signing, before you sign it. Again, your legal rights and responsibilities are listed in this contract. It is important that you know what is expected and what you can expect. There are attorneys that specialize in reproductive rights. They are well versed in the reproductive law of your state.
Realize that when the recipient is done building a family that they have a right to do what they want with the rest of the stored embryos. This means that they do not have to try and implant every single fertilized egg. They can have them destroyed or they can even donate them to another recipient without your knowledge or consent.
It is important for recipients to know the law in the state of the egg donation and implantation that governs parental rights. These laws are very specific and must be followed to the letter of the statute. Simply signing a form at a doctor’s office does not necessarily end the donor’s parental rights to the future embryo. Speak with a family law or reproductive rights attorney to make sure that all of the steps are followed to formalize the severing of parental rights from the donor and enacting the parental rights of the recipient. It is equally important to understand that in some states marital status makes a difference in these situations. This is something else that an experienced attorney can help you navigate during the course of the IVF.
Reproductive law can be quite complicated and sensitive. There are many forms of egg donation from anonymous donation to double donor meaning that the eggs are split between recipients. Each has its own particular set of legal ramifications and risks. It is important that all parties consult with their own lawyer during the process.
Robin is a blogger for Byrd Davis Furman & Alden LLP, a law firm in Austin, Texas. She is interested in helping couples who are unable to conceive.