Frequently Asked Questions: Egg Donation
Q:What are some of the issues that would be covered by a legal agreement with an egg donor?
The legal agreement will typically establish the intentions and responsibilities of the parties and address their mutually agreed upon decisions regarding confidentiality, sharing of future medical information, future contact (if any), financial arrangements, and the disposition of any embryos remaining after treatment is concluded.
Q:What are the benefits of having a legal agreement with an egg donor?
Quite simply, a legal agreement is the best way to protect yourself and your family. While an egg donation agreement will in its most basic form establish the intention of the parties to effectuate a donation of the eggs, there is much more involved with a properly drafted agreement. A well-written egg donation agreement will provide you with protection from liability in case the egg donor is injured either driving to her medical appointments or through the ovarian stimulation process. The agreement should also provide you with recourse should a donor fail to comply with the physician’s instructions or if she provides false information about herself in order to be selected as an egg donor. A properly drafted agreement won’t permit the donor to change her mind and prevent you from using the eggs and resulting embryos. A strong agreement will account for the possibility that the recipients may wish to donate any remaining embryos in the future. And a well-drafted agreement will protect the level of anonymity and degree of future contact you have decided is right for your family. These are functions that cannot be fully handled by merely using clinic consent forms.
Q:How will we maintain anonymity if we have a contract with the donor?
Attorneys are used to preparing such agreements referring to the parties just by their first names or using pseudonyms.
Q:What is my recourse if the egg donor does not comply with her medication or monitoring schedule?
If you have a direct agreement with your donor, it is possible that she is in breach of the agreement and you can demand that she reimburse you for all of your out-of-pocket expenses. This can include expenses for medications for both of you, monitoring for both of you, agency fees, travel expenses, and any other actual expenses incurred. You might also be able to obtain damages for the emotional distress of a cancelled cycle. If you don’t have a direct agreement with your donor, then the situation becomes much more complicated. Please have an attorney review your paperwork in order to determine exactly what your rights are under your specific circumstances.
Q:Egg donation is already very expensive. How will I be able to afford an attorney?
Attorney fees are relatively reasonable in the grand scheme of the expenses involved with the medical procedures. Many attorneys offer flat fees so that clients can know ahead of time exactly how much they will pay. The benefits from using an attorney–the protection of your parental rights and your children’s legal rights–are invaluable.
Q:We already signed clinic consent forms addressing our parental rights and what would happen to any remaining embryos. Would we still benefit from consulting with an attorney?
The clinic consent forms are an important part of the informed consent process, as they address issues directly related to the medical treatment such as procedures, benefits, risks and alternatives. However, if the clinic consent forms do not meet the exact requirements of the law for your particular situation, then they will not have the desired impact on the legal establishment of parental rights. It’s important to know that the law can be very picky in this regard. For example, the marital status of the recipients, the location of the clinic, the location of the birth and many other factors can impact whether the clinic consent forms are sufficient for your situation. This can result in unintended consequences, such as the intended father not being considered the legal parent under the law or one intended parent not being able to use the embryos in case of the death of the other intended parent. A consult with an attorney familiar with reproductive law is important to protect your and your future child’s legal rights.
Q:Can I meet the donor in an anonymous donation?
The level of contact can be whatever is mutually agreeable to all the parties. The legal agreement can be tailored to meet your individual preferences regarding contact.
Q:I don’t live near your office in Concord, NH? Will this be a problem?
Not all. We can provide services to you using Skype, email, fax, phone and our online client portal. There is no need for you to travel to the firm’s office if that is not convenient for you.