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sperm donor laws

a blog by Michelle Ottey, PhD, Laboratory Director for Fairfax Cryobank, December 31, 2013

This morning, I had an alert that there was another article with the headline, “… sperm donor must pay child support…” The headline is misleading in that it is not a sperm donor from a sperm bank, but rather a man who donated sperm to friends outside of a clinic or sperm bank setting.

Over the years there have been more and more headlines like this from major news sources. In this case it was a man who responded to a Craig’s List ad. In his state, Kansas, to be a sperm donor without legal obligation , the collection and procedures must happen under the care of a physician. Parentage laws vary from state to state. A legal agreement signed by the recipient intended parents and the known sperm donor may not be enough to establish that the known sperm donor is legally relinquishing his parental rights and obligations.

When you work with a sperm bank, this is not a concern. The sperm donors sign a donor agreement with the sperm bank that states clearly that they relinquish parental rights. When purchasing donor sperm through a sperm bank, you will be working with your physician who will perform the insemination in the office. If considering an at home insemination , you will need physician sign off stating that you are under their supervision, this may protect you legally, but you should know the laws in your state before proceeding.

Through surveys we know that a large percentage of our recipient population consider using a known donor, but that less than 5% of them pursue this through inseminations. This is a wonderful option for some people and leads to wonderful families being created. If you are interested in using a known donor, it is recommended that you work with a sperm bank or clinic that offers Directed Donation services . Some clinics require that you present a statement from your lawyer proving that you have legal agreements in place that clearly outline the intentions and responsibilities of all parties, others do not require this but strongly recommend working with a lawyer.

Regardless of which kind of sperm donor you use, your family building journey should be protected. Be aware of the laws in your state and how they could affect the methods used.


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