Legalities of sperm donation and surrogacy
If you have decided to become a mother through accepting a sperm donation, or if you have chosen to have a child using a surrogate, you probably have many questions about the legal issues you might face. In the United States, every state has different laws about these matters, so it is important to do some intensive research.
So is sperm donation legal?
Yes, it is, and most states do not have any laws forbidding it, but again, do your research. Some states do place limits on how many children can be born using one man’s sperm, but these laws are typically not enforced.
There are also varying laws regarding the sperm donor’s parental rights. When using a sperm bank, the donor can remain anonymous, so there typically aren’t any issues. If using other methods to find a sperm donor, more legal issues can arise, and the biological father could be forced by a judge to pay child support if the mother goes to court. It is very important to draw up legal contracts regarding the insemination process as to avoid many of these issues. It’s also important to really trust your co-parent or donor. A good relationship can prevent legal debacles in the future.
What about surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a bit more complicated because in most states, the woman who gives birth to the child is automatically the mother with full parental rights. There are a few states that recognize a birth order which states that the intended mother has parental rights starting from the child’s birth. If you are a couple or single woman looking to use a surrogate, be aware that most states require that the birth mother give up their parental rights and go through a private adoption in order for you to be the legal mother(s) or father(s).
Also be aware that because the birth mother is technically the mother in the eyes of law, if she changes her mind and keeps the baby, there usually isn’t much you can do. She is also not required to reimburse the intended parents any compensation they may have given her. However, a study conducted at City University London showed that this is a rare occurrence and that most surrogate mother usually do not have any problem giving the intended parents their child.
This brief overview of the legal issues surrounding sperm donation and surrogacy are not meant to scare off anyone who may be interested in conceiving a child using these methods. However, it is necessary that you do all the research you can before making a decision. You want to do everything in your power to ensure that your child will remain legal yours after you have worked so hard to bring your little angel into the world.