Surrogacy agreements and donor conception agreements are different from other areas of family law in that the parties are not really adversaries. You are about to embark on an amazing, exciting, positive experience with each other.
Things You Should Know Before Considering a DIY Sperm Donation
Finding a sperm donor is a process which should take careful time and consideration. One of the top things to consider in this process is safety. Protection for both you and your soon to be child is paramount. Today, online platforms like Facebook and Tinder are some of the places where people search for sperm donors, which is allowing DIY sperm donation to be found much easier than traditional methods. Although this is an easy process, this also comes with health and safety risks that you should consider.
In an episode of the Knocked Up Podcast with Gynecologist Dr. Raelia Lew, the principal lawyer of Advocate Family Lawyers, Deanna Elsner, discussed the legal perspective of sperm donation.
What is Sperm Donation?
Sperm donation or artificial insemination is a method of inducing pregnancy. A donor sperm is used to inject into a female’s reproductive tract without having sexual intercourse, usually supervised by a registered fertility clinic.
Women over 35 years old are usually the ones who use a donor to conceive. According to Dr Raelia, women’s egg quality declines over time and the peak of women’s fertility are in between the late teens and in the late 20s. Egg quality often declines more rapidly in mid 30s. However, not all women who use a donor are over 35 years old. Some women in their late 20s, people in same-sex relationships, as well as those who are experiencing infertility also choose to go down the path of sperm donation.
How do you protect the people involved?
Family law perspective of sperm donation
Finding a sperm donor online is often viewed to be a much easier process with less cost than going to a regulated fertility clinic. However, there are a lot more risks of DIY-ing sperm donation. These risks can easily outweigh the benefits of the lower short term costs.
Deanna Elsner quotes “a legal agreement is important to have, because without it the donor might be legally recognized as the father of the child.” Written documentation has to be clear that your sperm donor does or does not have any responsibility and/or obligation over the child. This is necessary, because once the child is born the donor may have a different opinion than originally agreed upon. As a verbal agreement is not legally binding.
Without legal contracts drawn, the donor can have rights to parenting arrangements and responsibility for financial child support, which can cause conflicts between the donor and the parents of the child. A legal agreement that states that the intention of the act is for the sperm donation only is always recommended. Using a qualified family lawyer to assist with this process will greatly reduce the risks of complications in your arrangement.
Criminal law perspective of sperm donation
The psychological perspective of sperm donation
Unregulated sperm donation is usually hard for the recipient and the child, especially when the medical information of the donor is not recorded. In online platforms, people can easily lie about themselves. This can leave you vulnerable because the risk of misrepresentation is very high. Another risk that comes with having unregulated insemination is accidental incest.
According to Deanna, in regulated fertility clinics, donors are only allowed to donate to a maximum of 10 families including their own, with each family allowed to have more than one child. However, With online sperm donors, it is much harder to trace the numbers of families they’ve donated to, which can potentially lead to your child having unknown half-siblings in the future.
4 Safety tips you need to know:
1. Men who donate sperm should be able to pass and undergo several health tests to make sure that the sperm is healthy and doesn’t carry any diseases.
2. Genetic screening is also one of the most important tests you should consider. Genetic compatibility with your donor will avoid any genetic problems with your child in the future.
3. Know the medical history of your donor to avoid accidental incest or STD.
4. Creating a legal agreement that states that the intention is for sperm donation is also advisable to have enough evidence in case the donor changes their mind.
If you need advice on sperm donation, feel free to reach out to us via email at email@example.com or through socials at @advocatefamilylawyers.