Christina Park is a reproductive attorney and founder of the Law Offices of Christina Park in Seattle. She graduated from Yale Law School. Christina assists intended parents, egg donors, embryo donors, and surrogates and is proud to help build families.
What legal issues should we be aware of in WA state?
It is important for the intended parents and egg donor to enter into a legal agreement (especially with a known donor). Egg donation agreements describe each person’s roles and responsibilities, help set clear expectations, and document your wishes for who will be the child’s legal parents. The agreement will address potentially sensitive issues and can prevent future disputes.
Egg donation laws are relatively new and untested, and it is difficult to predict the outcome of court cases in this area of law. If disagreements do arise, Washington courts will likely examine the written agreement to understand your intentions and resolve disputes. It is important to clearly document the terms of the egg donation in your contract, which can provide you with additional confidence and peace of mind as you move forward. A qualified reproductive attorney can help you prepare the contract.
What topics do egg donation agreements typically address?
Egg donation agreements describe the terms of the arrangement in detail. This can help reduce surprises and provide extra security. Agreements typically address: each party’s duties; parental rights; compensation; what will happen to remaining embryos after fertility use is complete; and preferences for future contact.
We’re a married same-sex couple. What legal issues should we be aware of?
Under Washington law, both spouses in a marriage (including same-sex marriages) are presumed to be the legal parents of a child born during the marriage. However, other states may or may not recognize this parentage for same-sex couples.
The spouse who is not genetically related to the child should consider formally adopting the child. An adoption can help ensure that both parents receive full parental rights, even if they move outside of Washington State in the future.
Can the egg donor or sperm donor try to take the child away after the birth?
Under Washington law, an egg or sperm donor is not considered the parent of the resulting child (unless the parties agree otherwise in writing). If you are using an egg donor (especially a known donor), it is highly recommended that you enter into a written contract prior to the start of medical procedures. The contract will describe each person’s rights and responsibilities and document your wishes for who will be the child’s legal parent or parents.
Do the egg donor and intended parents need separate attorneys?
It is strongly advised that the intended parents and egg donor be represented by separate attorneys. This makes it much more likely that the egg donation contract will be seen as legally valid, if you ever wind up in court. Typically, the intended parents pay for all attorney fees (including fees for the egg donor’s attorney).
What happens once I hire an attorney?
The intended parents’ attorney will collect the necessary information and prepare the first draft of the egg donation agreement. The donor’s attorney will review the draft agreement and may request changes.
You will have the opportunity to read and review the legal agreement. You can discuss any questions and concerns that you may have with your attorney.
Typically, meetings with your attorney may take place either in-person or by phone. The entire process can take 1 to 4 weeks, depending on how quickly the agreements are read and approved by the donor, intended parents, and their respective attorneys.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only. The information is general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation. Before taking further action, you should consult a qualified attorney in your state.