Egg Donation: 5 Legal Tips

Egg donation can be lucrative and satisfying by creating the sense that you are helping an individual in need. However, donating eggs also presents numerous legal and ethical issues of which both donors and recipients must be aware. Prior to investigating egg donation or donating your eggs, seriously consider the following legal tips:

1. Donors, Release Your Claim

One of the main debates in egg donation is who owns the egg after donation or, also, who has claims to any subsequent child it may produce. Prior to donating your egg, ask about what type of contract the fertility specialist managing your donation requires you to sign. Any contract should contain a clause in which you, as the donor, give up any and all rights to the egg after donation. However, this clause should not state that you give up rights to the egg prior to donation, as you may decide not to donate after all. Additionally, giving up rights to the egg prior to donation creates a possible road for the fertility expert or recipient to govern your lifestyle during the donation process.

2. Recipient, Stake Your Claim

Just as egg donors should protect themselves with a contract, donation recipients should also assert their rights over donated eggs. Recipients should insist on all parties signing a contract that identifies them as the owners and parents of the egg after donation for each egg they intend on purchasing. This part of the contract will also release the donor from any liability for the egg in the future and prevent the donor from later coming forward with a parentage claim over the egg.

3. Donors, Eliminate Responsibility

Sure, donors are responsible for providing eggs to the fertility expert and possibly an identified family during the donation cycle. However, after the end of that cycle, their responsibility should end. As with all contracts and agreements, release of donor responsibility for any future problems, such as lack of viability or a child’s development problems, should be clearly stated in writing and signed by all parties.

4. Privacy for All Parties

Unless all parties agree that the donation will be an open one, it is advisable for all parties, including the physician’s office, to agree to privacy for all parties. While of course doctor-patient confidentiality prevents the doctor from talking about the procedure, having an additional agreement will maintain future privacy should any third parties, or even the child, inquire about the donation specifics.  

5. Choose a Reputable Specialist

Both donors and recipients should thoroughly investigate any physician they choose for the egg donation. Egg donation is a serious issue that has very little legal regulation, and in some states may be illegal, which requires all parties to be knowledgeable about the process and those involved. A physician who does not require contracts between the parties, who barely regulates, or is not involved in the egg preparation and retrieval process (or who makes one or more persons feel uncomfortable) should not be used.

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