Why Do I Need a Contract and Other Frequently Asked Questions by Egg Donors (Part 1)
The Importance of a Contract
Egg donors have many reasons for wanting to donate their eggs to hopeful parents. However, being a parent to any child born from those eggs is not one of them. Entering into a valid, written contract with the intended parents is the best way to ensure that the egg donor does not have any parental rights or responsibilities, even when donating anonymously. The majority of states do not have laws covering egg donation and therefore, contract law will govern any disputes between the parties and will protect the parties’ intentions and expectations. Without a contract an egg donor risks being considered a legal parent and having financial responsibilities for the child.
Typically, the matching agency will assist the egg donor in locating a qualified, attorney who practices assisted reproductive technology law. The attorney will review and explain the contract with the egg donor and make certain that it expresses her intentions. If any sections are not satisfactory the attorney will negotiate with the intended parents’ attorney to resolve those issues. Only once full satisfied should the egg donor sign the contract.
Egg donors also frequently ask whether the parents can make them pay child support. With a properly executed contract in place the answer should be no. The contract will address that the intended parents have all responsibilities related to care and support of any child born from the donated eggs and that the egg donor has no responsibility. To the best of my knowledge, there have been no cases where a parent has sought child support from their egg donor. If anyone did, assuming there was a valid contract, it is highly unlikely that the parent would succeed.
Another frequently asked question is whether the egg donor has to meet the child in the future. The contract should cover in specific detail under what circumstances the parties may have contact in the future. In an anonymous match, it is common to have a provision which allows the child to reach out to the egg donor with questions, through the agency or clinic, but does so in a way to protect anonymity.
However, under no circumstance can the donor be forced to have direct contact and the contract should be clear that any contact is only with the full consent of all parties. Due to the explosion of at-home DNA test kits, I caution all of my clients that 100% anonymity no longer exists. Accordingly, all donors should be prepared for the possibility that a child, whether as a teen or an adult, could track down a donor through shared genetic matches.
The information contained in this blog post is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This article is legal information and should be discussed with an attorney located in your jurisdiction before relying upon it.
Chrissy Hanisco is an attorney who practices in New Hampshire and Massachusetts with a focus on third party assisted reproductive technology law and adoption. Chrissy’s entire legal career has been focused on assisting others in difficult situations. After personally battling infertility she decided to use her legal skills to help others build their families. She presently serves as the Secretary on RESOLVE New England’s Executive Committee and as a Board Member. She also is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Assisted Reproductive Technologies Committee and Parents Via Egg Donation. She lives in Concord, New Hampshire with her partner, their twin fraternal boys, her stepson, and their faithful, yet slightly neurotic Labrador retriever, Luke.