This term implies the use of a third party’s egg, sperm, or embryos to create a child who is biologically unrelated to at least one of the intended parents. Your objective as an intended parent in using collaborative reproduction is to ensure that you and your partner, if there is one, will be the legally recognized parent.
Our firm provides legal services including consultation, negotiation and preparation of contracts for the intended parent and the third party collaborator.
Egg, Sperm and Embryo Donors
When using donors from a fertility clinic or utilizing an agency, you should have a comprehensive understanding of the donation process and legalities. You will utilize either Anonymous or Identified ova or sperm. With either situation and depending on your marital status, there are details which must be reflected in a written agreement between the parties. Depending on the state you reside in, court proceedings may be required to solidify your parental status.
Florida governs the donation of eggs, sperm, or preembryos and says, in part, that “[t]he donor of any egg, sperm, or preembryo…shall relinquish all maternal or paternal rights and obligations with respect to the donation or the resulting children.” As for compensation, the statute requires that it be “reasonable” and directly related to the donation.
The procedure is a form of assisted reproductive technology where a woman provides her eggs to intended parents for use in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure with the intent that the intended parents will become the legal parents of the child. The eggs can be utilized by the intended mother or a gestational surrogate.
If you do utilize a known sperm donor, your friend or a live in boyfriend, for example, it is essential to memorialize your intentions in a contract which states that this biological sperm donor has no legal rights to parent the child, nor does he have any financial or paternal responsibilities. On the other hand, unmarried couples utilizing sperm donation create a complex scenario and you should have a contract memorializing your intentions: should the donor have parental rights or not?
Embryo donation is a process where previously formed embryos (created for either an individual or a couple who no longer want to use the embryos to create their family and who are willing to donate them to another) are utilized to create your family. Legal agreements must be in place in order to establish parental rights and in some cases court orders are necessary for the termination of the originating party’s parental status.
Gestational Surrogacy and Contracts
Leslie will represent the surrogate or the commissioning couple/ intended parents on your journey. In Florida, the process is governed by Fla. Stat. 742.15. So, Florida does recognize surrogacy as a valid method to build your family. Before any arrangement, there must be a binding and enforceable contract between the commissioning couple and the gestational surrogate. A commissioning couple is defined as legally married and at least 18 years old. The statute sets forth the requirements that allow surrogacy, requiring a medically viable reason to utilize the help of a surrogate; defines the rights and responsibilities of the parties, compensation and parental status.
Once the child is born, the Florida Statute 742. 16 allows for the Affirmation of Parental Status court hearing within 3 days after the child is born. Here, the court will affirm the gestational surrogacy agreement, and will order the Department of Health to alter the birth certificate to reflect the commissioning couple. At least one member of the commissioning couple must be genetically related to the child in order for the couple to be presumed to the child’s natural parents.
Employment and Insurance Concerns
Engaging in fertility treatments is both a timely and costly process. We can help you navigate federal laws and state law to determine your rights to “time off” for these procedures and connect you with insurance professionals who specialize in the fertility arena.
Many patients consider traveling abroad to do their fertility treatments or collaborative reproduction. Why? Two reasons: First, costs for treatments can be dramatically more economical outside the US. Second, access. Perhaps your state makes it illegal to utilize a surrogate and you have a choice to travel abroad for treatment. As each country has its own rules governing assisted reproductive technologies, it is imperative that you know those laws and how they can impact both parentage and citizenship. The US State Department which governs citizenship applications has jurisdiction over egg donor conceived children born abroad. Citizenship will not always be granted to a child born of these circumstances.
The legal and regulatory aspects of fertility have not kept pace with scientific and medical advances. It is imperative that professionals be aware of and implement best practices. This requires advice about federal and state regulatory standards and risk management. Our firm will guide you through issues involving:
- Informed Consents provided to your patients
- Insurance Coverage
- Best Industry Practices and Compliance
- Co-Counsel on Appellate or Trial Matters Related to Reproductive Law – Leslie is available to co-counsel with law firms on their appellate matters related to family law and the reproductive arena. Her appellate background makes her an appropriate partner to you in all aspects of your litigation.