Egg Donation

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A Primer on Egg Donation and Egg Donation Contracts

We create egg donation contracts when prospective parents have to use an egg donor to build their family. For a woman, coming to the realization that she won’t be able to use her own genetics and will need an egg donor can be a very difficult choice. She most likely underwent other types of infertility treatment before deciding this was the best course of action. From the outset, male couples and single men understand they will need to find an egg donor.

Occasionally, hopeful parents can find a known donor, who is a friend or family member. When the donor is known, it is termed an open donation while an anonymous donation is termed as closed. Most parents will use independent agencies or an IVF clinic’s egg donor program to help them find the right match with an anonymous donor.

The egg donor contract language addresses issues such as compensation, anonymity, access to updated medical information, disposition of excess frozen embryos and other pertinent issues. The egg donor will always have separate, independent counsel and we will work with her attorney to ensure that the final documents are reflective of each party’s intentions and responsibilities regarding medical expenses, the eggs and any resulting children.

Florida law supports donations by providing that so long as the donation is evidenced by a contract, the donation is absolute and neither the Intended Parent or the donor should worry about the future of their privacy, parentage of the newborn or ownership of any remaining frozen eggs. The eggs are viewed as if they came from the parent’s own body. Generally speaking, upon retrieval, the ownership of the eggs and thus, parentage of the resulting child(ren), will pass irretrievably to the Intended Parent.

Everything that might occur during the donation process must be contained in the four corners of the documents. The topics addressed will include, compensation, travel expenses, ownership of the retrieved eggs and future contact. As an example, parents who want to protect their child will ask for a “backdoor” to their Donor. This protects the anonymity of the parties, but allow doctors to speak to one another if the child is diagnosed with a disease process that can be linked back to the donor.

Open or Anonymous Donation

Egg donation can either be open or anonymous, a reference to whether or not the donation participants will learn each other’s identity. Though there is a trend for more parents to choose open donation, where both parties know each other, most matches in the United States are closed.

For closed donations, we provide a multi-step process to insure that Donor and Intended Parent do not share their personally identifying information.

Occasionally, parents will ask to give child access to the donor after he or she reaches the age of 18. This is called a semi-open donation. We see it in two to three percent of the matches we do, more typically from European Intended Parents. Issues such as this are sometimes better addressed during the psychological review as the parties may feel differently in 18 years. As the intrusion will be felt more by the Donor (and her then family), we will permit her to make the final decision as to provide contact. The asset for this model is an ability for the resulting child to meet the Donor when she or he reaches the age of majority. The deficit for this model includes Parents who desire to remain anonymous between themselves and to the public. That a Parent is infertile can be seen in certain cultures as a failing.

We recommend that all egg donations be anonymous. We provide a multi-step process to insure that Donor and Intended Parent do not share their personally identifying information. At the same time, we recommend the parties permit limited contact, through a third party, to transmit medical information should the donor or child be diagnosed with a serious disease process having a genetic link to the other.

Whether the donation is open or closed, the Intended Parents have the right to do what they wish with the resulting embryos. Notwithstanding such a right, the parties need to have a candid conversation about a secondary donation. A secondary donation would increase the potential number of genetically related siblings into the world. Generally, we like to restrict the number of siblings so as to not worry about chance meetings and also provide the child some security about the members of her/his family.