Why Do I Need a Donor Agreement?

Conception of fertilization. Fried egg in white plate, and spoon look like sperm competition, Spermatozoons floating to ovule. Yellow background.

Why Do I Need a Donor Agreement?

The way in which families are created has changed dramatically in the last 3 decades. Couples and single persons are increasingly creating families by way of artificial conception, either through a fertility clinic or through an at home insemination.

The ingredients to create a baby do not change, even though the method of conception is different. This means that some couples, and all single people, will need to obtain eggs, sperm, or both, in order to bring their child into the world.

Often people will enlist the assistance of the fertility clinic to source donated eggs or sperm. The donors of this material are called deidentified donors. The full details of the donor are unknown, however any child born as a result of the donation will be able to access information about their donor when they turn 18.

However, and more commonly, people decide to us a known donor in the creation of their child. A known donor is someone that is known to the recipient of the egg or sperm, generally with the understanding that the donor will have at least some level of involvement in the child’s life. This could be contact once a year, or contact on a fortnightly basis.

Too often there is no formal, written agreement drafted about the intended involvement of the known donor in a child’s life. Without a written agreement there is a high risk that a dispute may arise in the future about the donor’s role in the child’s life. This is particularly so where a donor may intend to be involved to a greater degree than the recipient/s intended, and the relationship between the donor and recipient/s breaks down.

A clear, concise donor agreement that each party has obtained legal advice about will give all parties the highest level of protection from any future dispute about parentage or involvement of a donor in a child’s life.

Although the agreements are not legally enforceable, they are a powerful document that sets out the intention and agreement between all of the parties at the time of conception. This removes any ambiguity about what role the donor intended to play in the child’s life, and may defeat any future legal claims.

If you are considering entering into a known donor arrangement, either as a donor or a recipient, contact us today to ensure you are adequately protected.

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