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LGBT+ Legal Rights When Using an Egg or Sperm Donor

LGBT+ Legal Rights When Using an Egg or Sperm Donor

The legalization of same-sex marriage introduced new considerations related to family law. But when it comes to parental rights, LGBT+ couples often face unique challenges. 

In many cases, children may share a biological relationship with only one of the parents. In others, children may have been conceived using a sperm or egg donor. This raises new questions about parental rights in LGBT+ partnerships. 

Working with an experienced family law attorney who understands the unique needs of LGBT+ couples and family structures is an essential step in protecting your rights as a parent. 

Legal Decisions When Using an Egg Donor

Same-sex couples who use a surrogate have many factors to consider. Creating agreements in advance is the best way to protect your rights as a parent and ensure that the parental rights of the surrogate are severed when needed. 

Same-sex partners using a surrogate should determine who the legal parents of the child are when they involve a surrogate.

In traditional surrogacy, a surrogate’s eggs are used to conceive the child who she will then carry to term. Gestational surrogates are implanted with an already fertilized egg and carries the child to term. Egg donors can waive their parental rights through a legal agreement. 

Same-sex parents should consult with an experienced and knowledegable legal professional in order to draft surrogacy agreements. The decision to use a known or unknown egg donor can also add the legal issues you’ll need to consider. 

Sperm Donors and Parental Rights

Sperm donors have long been used by heterosexual couples in cases where they were unable to conceive a child. Cases where a genetic issue is present may also warrant the use of sperm donors. 

Lesbian couples looking to have a child can seek out a sperm donor for conception. But like surrogacy, the use of a sperm donor requires couples to protect their legal parental rights. 

Couples can utilize the help of a fertility bank. But they must also choose the procedure to use as well as the type of donor they want to involve in the process. Each decision can have its own legal consequences. 

Your family law attorney can explain the potential issues and guide you towards the best options for your circumstances. 

Done correctly, LGBT+ couples can retain their full rights as parents and make sure they’re listed as the parents on the child’s birth certificate. 

In addition to anonymous donors that are chosen through the use of a clinic or sperm bank and who choose to keep their identity concealed, identity and known donors may also be used. 

Identity donors choose to be anonymous while having the option to allow their personal identity to be disclosed in the future. Every organization has its own unique set of rules related to identity donors. 

Your attorney can help you determine what right you will have in the future to obtain and disclose the donor’s information to a child. 

Known donors are individuals that have some established relationship to the couple. Not all fertility organizations work with donors who are known.

Anonymous donors release any claims to a child conceived using their sperm. In cases that use known donors, a legal process should be put in place to sever any parental rights of the known donor. 

What to Consider in Protecting Parental Rights

They ways in which LGBT+ couples can start families are more complex than they are for heterosexual partners. 

Agreements must be in place for parents looking to protect their rights and ensure that there are not complications in the future. In addition to your rights as parents, you must consider the rights of donors who are involved as well as those of your children. 

Parental rights include the right to custody, financial support, and visitation among others. Having the right legal agreements in place early on will protect your rights and secure the future of you and your family. 

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