Infertility is more common than most people think.  For those who are struggling to conceive, donor sperm or donor eggs may be the only key to unlocking the door to parenthood.

There are many reasons someone might consider using a donor. In fact, egg and sperm donors have already helped numerous families by providing the precious gift of life. They have fulfilled the dreams of single people wanting to create their own family without having to wait for the perfect partner. They have also helped potential parents who did not want to pass hereditary genetic conditions to their children. Donors have made it possible to overcome common types of infertility which were difficult to treat in the past.

Many fertility issues women face are linked to the production of eggs. That’s because the quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs decrease rapidly as she ages. Low ovarian egg reserve is the leading cause for women’s infertility. Sometimes, even younger women may require the help of donor eggs to get pregnant. She could have gone through early menopause, have been born without functioning ovaries or have lost the ability to produce eggs because of treatment for an illness such as cancer.

For many patients, using an egg donor is the missing piece that solves the puzzle of their unexplained fertility. In such cases, egg donation is the only answer.  Sperm donation is also an option in cases where the prospective father is unable to produce healthy sperm.

Legal Implications 

Using donated eggs or sperm (third-party reproduction), provides a wonderful option for many patients, but it also has some legal implications. It’s important to understand every aspect of using third party reproduction before deciding this is the correct fertility treatment for you.  This will help protect all parties involved throughout the process and beyond.

Here’s what you should know:

Your state’s laws for third party reproduction

Legal rights and protections of Intended Parents and donors vary from state to state. Some states are very strict when it comes to donor screening and compensation. While others are more strict on how the legal parents of a child born from third-party reproduction are determined.  Some states have no legislation on this subject whatsoever. Make sure to consult a qualified attorney on your own state’s legislation before proceeding with third-party reproduction.

An attorney specializing in reproductive law will be extremely helpful

If you are utilizing donated eggs or sperm, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated attorney create your agreement. In some cases, the contract offered by your donation agency may not be enough or might not fully protect you. Your attorney should review any contract offered by the agency, at a minimum. A strong agreement or contact will include items such as:

  • A statement of informed consent from the donor
  • The terms of any donor compensation
  • A statement clarifying that the donor will have no right to the donated eggs/sperm, resulting embryos or children
  • Plan for disposal of unused embryos, after the use of donated gametes
  • A plan for future contact between the donor and the family
  • A plan for the medical and genetic history of the donor

The legal implications of using a known donor

Few patients are fortunate enough to have a friend or family member who is willing to donate eggs or sperm in order to help them achieve their dream of having a child of their own. There are many benefits to this type of arrangement. Also, knowing a donor on a personal level may give the patient a sense of control over the situation.

With a known donor, there’s a greater chance that you are completely aware of the donor’s genetic history and personality. This reduces the anxiety you may have while choosing a donor with the limited information available in an anonymous donor’s profile. For some patients, it offers the opportunity to grasp the closest genetic link to their child. While for a few others, it’s a chance to provide another rich relationship to their child, because it can allow frequent and easy contact between the donor and the patient’s family.

On the other hand, negotiating a donation contract with a known donor can be more complex and emotionally complicated than using an anonymous donor. It can be a challenging task to discuss certain issues. These include legal rights to the child, contact, and visitations or waiving the right to future child support, with a close known donor. If the donor is more strongly related to one of the parents, what happens in the unfortunate event of divorce or death of one of the partners?  If you decide to go down this route, then it’s essential for you to feel confident having potentially difficult conversations. Ensure that both you and the donor are represented by your own separate legal counsel to draw up the contract.

Moving Forward

While all the steps surrounding using donated gametes can feel overwhelming, it is a routine part of modern fertility treatment and Physician’s Surrogacy can walk you through the whole process. Just remember, you are not alone in your journey. There are a wide variety of resources to relieve any stress or anxiety you may have throughout the process. If would like to learn more about third party reproduction, you can always contact us at or call at (858) 209-3801