Frequently Asked Questions: Sperm Donation
Q:Is it necessary for me to have a written legal agreement with my sperm donor?
If you are using a known donor, sometimes called a “directed” or “selected” donor, it is very important to have a written agreement directly between you and your donor. The law treats direct agreements between two people differently than agreements made using a third party intermediary, such as a clinic or cryobank. A direct agreement is the best way to memorialize your joint intent in entering into the donation arrangement.
Q:What are some of the issues that would be covered by a legal agreement with the 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:Is it necessary to get a doctor involved for the insemination, or can I just do it at home?
You are going to be in a much better legal position if you use a physician. Failure to use a physician can have the drastic consequence of granting legal parental rights to the donor. The exact legal implications of at-home insemination will vary from state to state, and will also depends on factors particular to your situation such as whether you are married or single. An additional important factor is that going through a physician will allow your donor to be screened for communicable diseases and genetic disorders, and thus will better protect the health of both mom and baby.
Q:I performed an at-home insemination with semen from my friend. We both agreed that he wouldn’t be the father of the child. Do you anticipate that we might have any legal problems down the road?
There are many factors involved with assessing the legal parental relationships in a sperm donation situation. In situations involving at-home insemination, the Parties won’t be able to rely on the protections of those laws that require physician involvement to terminate a sperm donor’s rights. However, there are often alternative methods available to terminate the donor’s rights. It is important to speak with an attorney to determine the laws that will be applicable to you situation.
Q:We are a female same sex couple expecting a child in a few months using donor sperm. What steps do we need to go through to make sure we both have full legal rights to our child? Is it sufficient to just make sure both of our names go on the birth certificate?
If you are a married couple and your child is born in New Hampshire, the names of both mothers can go directly on the birth certificate. However, the birth certificate is not conclusive proof of maternity and is not guaranteed to be accepted as evidence of maternity outside of New Hampshire. It is important for the wife who did not carry the pregnancy to establish her maternal rights through court action, such as through an adoption.
Q: I donated sperm to my friend, and she did not put my name on the birth certificate when the baby was born. That means I’m not the legal father, right?
Again, the birth certificate is not conclusive proof of parentage. Please speak to an attorney to determine whether your legal parental rights were sufficiently terminated through the sperm donation process. If not, you can proceed with court action to try to terminate any rights that you may have retained. Otherwise, you are at risk of being held legally responsible for parental obligations such as child support.
Q:I heard about a case in Kansas where the sperm donor was forced to pay child support. I wish to donate sperm to a friend of mine, but I want to make sure I don’t end up on the hook for child support. What do I need to do?
Donating sperm to a friend is a very generous thing, but please ensure that you are legally protected by using an attorney to draw up a legal agreement between you and your friend. At the Law Office of Catherine Tucker, we can prepare such an agreement customized to your particular situation, and can also advise you on the legal risks that your particular arrangement might entail.