Sperm Donation

If you are someone who wants to build a family through assisted reproductive technology (ART) using donated sperm, you may be deciding between using the sperm of a known donor (perhaps a friend or family member) or an anonymous donor through a sperm bank or clinic. If you choose to proceed with the help of a known sperm donor, it is important that you enter into a carefully drafted sperm donation agreement that sets forth the rights and responsibilities of the parties.

The Law Offices of Laurie B. Goldheim has extensive experience representing both sperm donors and recipients.

Our sperm donation agreements clearly set forth the understanding between the parties that the recipients will have full parental rights to any child conceived as a result of the sperm donation and that the sperm donor will have no parental obligations or financial responsibility for any child conceived as a result of his sperm donation.

Most states require that the intended parent(s) and gestational carrier have independent legal counsel. Even if not required, we urge all parties to have their own attorneys. The Law Offices of Laurie B. Goldheim cannot represent both the sperm donor and the recipient(s) in the same agreement.

As your attorneys, we can assist you through two of the main stages of a surrogacy arrangement.

The Agreement

A finalized agreement must be in place before the gestational surrogate can begin taking any medications or undergo procedures for an embryo transfer. We will review with you all details and meticulously draft and/or review an agreement that will protect the parties.

The agreement, among other things, will set forth the clear understanding that the gestational surrogate will carry a child for the intended parents, the intended parents are the legal parents of the child and will have complete responsibility for the child at the moment of birth, and the gestational surrogate will not attempt to form a parent-child relationship, nor will she have any responsibility for the child after birth.

Pre-Birth Order of Parentage

Generally, if a woman gives birth to a child, she is presumed by law to be the parent of that child. The parties to a gestational surrogacy arrangement clearly understand that this is not the intention. A critical aspect of a gestational surrogacy arrangement is that the law recognizes the intended parents as the legal parents of the child. and sets forth the process for intended parents to be able to establish their parental rights and terminate the otherwise presumed parental rights of the surrogate (and the surrogate’s husband if she is married).

We will draft and file all the required documents and pleadings necessary to legally establish your parental rights. This process generally begins when the gestational surrogate enters the second trimester of pregnancy. The Court will typically schedule a hearing prior to issuing a pre-birth order.

If the Court is satisfied that all of the statutory requirements are satisfied, the court will sign an order of parentage naming the intended parents the legal parents of the child upon the birth of the child. We will provide the hospital where the child will be born a copy of the order of parentage so that the intended parents, upon the child’s birth, are recognized as the legal parents and are able to have full access to the baby and make all parental decisions for the baby.

Many states require that the intended parent and gestational surrogate have independent legal counsel. Even if not required, we urge all parties to have their own attorneys.

The Law Offices of Laurie B. Goldheim cannot represent both the intended parent(s) and the gestational surrogate in the same agreement.

What is the process for sperm donation?
Sperm donation involves obtaining semen from a donor that is then cryopreserved or used to fertilize eggs from an egg donor or the egg of the Intended Mother. The fertilized embryos are then stored or transferred into the uterus of the Intended Mother or surrogate.
What is the purpose of a sperm donation agreement?
The purpose of a sperm donation agreement is to establish a clear understanding of the intentions of the parties and the responsibilities they have to each other. The agreement will clearly state that the sperm donor will have no parental rights or responsibilities regarding the donated sperm or resulting children and that the recipient of the sperm will have both physical and legal custody any resulting embryos created with the donated sperm and resulting children.

In addition to the understanding of parental rights and responsibilities, the agreement will address many other important issues, including:

  • Details regarding when and how the donation will be made
  • Compensation, if any, to the sperm donor
  • Expectations of the sperm donor
  • Confidentiality of the parties
  • Obligations/desires regarding future contact and/or medical information
  • Rights of the child or children born from the sperm donation
Do all states have similar laws regarding sperm donation?
Each state has different laws regarding sperm donation. It is important that you are represented by an experienced attorney who understands the laws of your state.
Must our agreement be signed before the sperm donation?
Although all parties do not enter into a signed sperm donation agreement prior to the donation, it is highly advisable that in a directed sperm donor arrangement, you have an agreement in place so that all parties are clear about their rights and responsibilities. Without an agreement, the parties could be at great legal risk. In addition, without an agreement, the rights of a child conceived as a result of the sperm donation could be at stake.
Can the sperm donor assert his parental rights at some point in the future?
The sperm donation agreement will clearly state that the donated sperm and any embryos created with the donated sperm belong to the recipients at the moment of donation. The agreement protects the recipients’ rights so that the sperm donor cannot assert any parental rights.
Is it possible for either us or our child to meet the sperm donor at some point in the future?
If the parties agree that future contact is mutually desired, the sperm donor agreement will set forth the terms of the contact. It is advisable that recipients and donor understand one another’s intentions about future contact from the beginning so that all parties feel they are a good match.

We’re here for you, please reach out.

As adoption and reproductive law attorneys, The Law Offices of Laurie B. Goldheim serve as a primary resource, counsel and partner to clients who seek to grow their families by contemporary means and methods, as recognized by the courts of New York and New Jersey.