Clear parenthood laws needed on the use of donors

A recent article in the National Post about a Canadian lesbian couple who say they were “hounded” by a known sperm donor’s family, highlights the need for clear parenthood laws on the use of donors across the globe – something that many provinces, states, and countries lack.

When sperm and eggs are accessed via an anonymous bank, the issue of parental rights is usually clear. The donor has no right to any future contact or involvement with his offspring. However, when couples and single individuals use “known” donors, and become pregnant using “at home” methods rather than going through a fertility clinic, the parental rights of the various parties can be quite unclear.

In the case of the Canadian couple, the couple underwent at home inseminations using the donor’s sperm. The donor had previously signed a contract saying he would not have a role in the child’s life, if a pregnancy were to occur. However, once the child was born, the donor had a change of heart, and sued for parental rights. Although the donor has now withdrawn the legal suit, the recipient couple have had to move to another town, in order to protect their son from being approached by the donor’s family.

If you are considering any form of third party reproduction (i.e., donor eggs, donor sperm, donor embryos, gestational surrogacy), it is highly recommended that you consult with a lawyer and have a parental agreement drawn up to protect the rights of all parties – the donor/surrogate, the recipient(s), and the child or children created through the donation.

Learn more about the legal aspects of using a known donor here.

Read the National Post article here.

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