Frequently Asked Questions About Assisted Reproduction Methods

What Is Assisted Reproduction Technology?

In general, assisted reproduction technology (ART) involves unconventional methods of having a baby using embryonic material that is artificially manipulated to conceive a child. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define ART to include “all fertility treatments in which both eggs and embryos are handled.” ART procedures generally involve surgical procedures to remove a woman’s eggs and later fertilizing them with sperm in a laboratory environment, and not through human sexual intercourse.

What Is Invitro Fertilization?

Invitro Fertilization (or IVF) refers to procedures where a woman’s eggs are fertilized with sperm in a laboratory setting. IVF allows an individual to conceive a child with their own genetic material and that of a donor. For example, a single woman who wishes to have their own child can use IVF to infuse her eggs with a donor’s sperm. Conversely, a single man can have a donor’s eggs infused with their sperm.

Do Donors Have Parental Rights?

In many IVF arrangements, an agency handles the process of gathering, matching, and sometimes handling genetic material for IVF procedures. Typically, the donor and intended parent enter an agreement covering the issues of parentage. Donors generally relinquish parental rights to children conceived from their genetic material. However, state parentage laws regulate the termination and adoption of parental rights. You should consult an attorney about how your state’s parentage laws impact the parental rights of an IVF donor.

What Is Traditional Surrogacy?

Traditional surrogacy refers to an arrangement where a woman carries a pregnancy to term involving a baby produced from her genetic material and a donor’s. As a result, a traditional surrogate is the biological mother of a child born from this type of ART.

What Are the Parental Rights for Traditional Surrogates?

The parental rights of a traditional surrogate depends on state parentage laws. In many states, the biological mother of a child is automatically considered to be their legal parent. Paternity is determined with respect to a purported father’s relationship to the child’s mother at birth. Like in adoptions, a surrogate might agree to sign over their parental rights to the intended parents of a child born from traditional surrogacy. However, consulting with an experienced attorney is crucial in this situation.

What Is Gestational Surrogacy?

Gestational surrogacy refers to an arrangement where a woman carries a pregnancy to term involving a baby produced entirely from donated genetic material. A gestational surrogate does not infuse her own eggs with donated sperm. Instead, she simply serves to carry an embryo fertilized in a lab and implanted in her uterus for purposes of gestation and delivery.

What Are the Parental Rights for Gestational Surrogates?

State parentage laws also determine the parental rights of a gestational surrogate. Several states developed their parentage laws presuming that a mother who delivers a child is their legal parent. Most parentage laws that are in effect throughout the United States did not contemplate a situation where a mother delivered a baby with whom she has no genetic relationship. Some states may have updated their parentage laws to recognize the unique aspects of a gestational surrogacy arrangement. Like other ART methods, the gestational surrogate and the intended parents will execute an agreement addressing parentage issues. Again, discussing the legal implications of gestational surrogacy with an attorney is essential to ensure that you are aware of you and the gestational surrogate’s rights.

I Have More Questions—Who Can I Ask?

If you have additional questions about the legal implications of certain ART methods or arrangements, you should consult an experienced family law attorney. At DiPietro Law Group, our legal team is dedicated to handling various family law issues, including matters affecting parenting in situations involving assisted reproductive technology. We are dedicated to helping you navigate the sophisticated legal issues that are unique to your case.

To learn more about your rights and options, call DiPietro Law Group at (888) 530-4374 or visit us online today.