Each year over 14,500 fertility treatments using either sperm or egg donors take place in the UK. Although the procedure is becoming more common, the process can be complex and it’s important to be clear on the legal implications of your decisions.
While you and your donor may have agreed to what you’d like the arrangement to be after the birth, in the eyes of the law, the rights of the parents and that of the donors may not match up to these recognised roles.
A donor by name is a biological third party aiding the creation of a child. The main legal parental rights don’t apply to donors – their name doesn’t appear on the birth certificate.
If you donate your sperm, under law, you are not recognised as the resulting child’s legal parent. The donor also doesn’t have any legal obligations to any child born from the donated sperm, this includes providing parents with child maintenance. During the child’s upbringing, the donor also doesn’t have the right to decide on how the child is brought up.
The main difference with being an egg donor is that if you give birth to the child, you will always be considered its legal parent under UK law. This means that if you are receiving an egg from a donor and you give birth to the child – rather than using a surrogate – as the birth parent, you have legal rights to the child.
What kind of fertility clinic should you use?
Using the correct type of fertility clinic is so important when looking for or to donate sperm or eggs. The problem with not researching the clinic properly is that you may accidently use an unlicensed clinic. For sperm donation, this could mean that the legalities of the process are completely changed so that the sperm donor is actually recognised at the legal parent of any child born using their donated sperm.
A way to double check the fertility clinics in your area is to use the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) site’s search system to find the fully licensed clinics available for you to use.
While donating your egg and sperm to help another couple is an extraordinary thing to do, both parties need to have fully researched each part of the process. Whether you’re receiving a donation or giving one, make sure everybody is aware of the legalities of the process, including that the child is legally allowed to know who their biological parent is at the age of 18.
Here at Lysander Law, we specialise in Family Law, Personal Injuries and Serious Injuries. If you’re looking for the right people to support you through family court, get in contact with us and we can discuss how we can help you.