Parental Rights When Using an Egg Donor

Who is the legal parent of a child born from a donor egg? This is a common question fertility attorneys are asked to explain, with good reason. Legal parentage (or parental “rights”) are the last thing anyone raising a child would want to worry about, especially as they are already making crucial parenting decisions about health, safety, education and much more.

The bottom line is this: In California, once an egg is donated, it becomes part of the origin of the intended parent(s)’s legal child, whether the baby will be carried by a female intended parent or a gestational surrogate. All of these important legal details are clarified in an egg donor agreement, which is drafted and signed before the donation, implantation and birth occur.

Egg donation agreement
When intended parents take steps to find an egg donor in California, getting legal paperwork in order should be a priority. The egg donor agreement will specify that the egg donor relinquishes parental rights and that the child born under the agreement is the legal child of the intended parents, who, in turn, consent to using the donor egg in their assisted reproduction treatment. In the case of anonymous egg donation, a pseudonym can be substituted for an actual name.

Both the egg donor and intended parents are usually recommended to retain separate fertility attorneys to represent them during this initial phase of the donation process in California. The agreement can take about two weeks to execute, depending on the responsiveness of each party. Other arrangements can be delineated in this agreement aside from the assigning of parental rights, including the option of the child meeting the egg donor at a future time, if he or she so chooses and if the donor agrees prior to her donation cycle.

Confirming legal parental rights
If you are also working with a gestational surrogate, the intended parents will go through the parental establishment process through the California court system. The judge in your case will issue a pre-birth order, which gives the birthing hospital the authority to treat the intended parents as the legal parents. You would then be able to make medical decisions for the baby, fill out necessary paperwork (including the birth certificate), and take custody of the child when he or she is discharged.

Confirming your legal parental rights when using a donor egg in California does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. Choose an educated fertility attorney to help make this process as easy and resolute as possible. For more information about the California egg donation legal process or to get started, contact Falletta and Klein today.

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