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Do Sperm and Egg Donors Have Parental Rights?

When considering the options on how to build a family, some couple choose sperm or egg donations. Under Florida Law both, couples using donated sperm or eggs, as well as the donating individuals are legally protected. However, it is also important to take further legal steps to address these legal rights with your attorney.

Under Florida Statute 742.14 “The donor of any egg, sperm, or preembryo, other than the commissioning couple or a father who has executed a preplanned adoption agreement under s. 63.213, shall relinquish all maternal or paternal rights and obligations with respect to the donation or the resulting children. Only reasonable compensation directly related to the donation of eggs, sperm, and preembryos shall be permitted.”

It is easily determined under this statute, that an individual who donates their genetic egg or sperm without any formal adoption agreement, relinquishes all parental rights to any child that may result. Therefore, if you are an individual donating your egg or sperm you will have no legal claim or responsibility to any child that may result later on, after your donation is complete. This includes, timesharing claims or child support responsibility. Further, if you are a couple using a donated sperm or eggs, you will be free and protected from any claim from the individual who donated their genetic material.

Although this law seems pretty straight forward, it is prudent to still enter into proper contractual agreements before using donated eggs or sperm. This agreement can address the present needs of the couple and donor as well as the future relationship and responsibility of the parties. Therefore, these agreements can become invaluable to those who employ them. These agreements may include: establishing the donation as being from a known or anonymous donor; the relinquishment of rights by the donor with the respective intention of the commissioning parents to assume parenting rights to the child; limiting or removing the parental ties between the donor and resulting child, such as legal and financial responsibility or timesharing; the reasonable compensation of the donor for the donation; responsibility of payment of the medical procedures resulting from the donation; restricting or allowing access to the donor’s medical records by the commissioning couple; noting the medical facility to perform the necessary medical procedures; and any other items that may be unique to the dynamic between the commissioning couple and the donor. Overall, the agreement should clearly define the commissioning couple, and the donor in order to remove confusion as to the legal rights, responsibilities, and the parenting roles of each party involved.

This contract, although not legally necessary, can aid greatly in your future protections of the child, donor, and as parents. Therefore, it is a critical step that you should discuss with your custody attorney prior to engaging in any assisted reproductive technology to begin your family.

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