There are many ways to start a family these days. Women are choosing to have children later in life, when their fertility levels may not be as high as they once were. Fortunately, with all of the medical advancements today, that does not necessarily mean that they cannot have children. Many women today choose to use an egg donor when they cannot reproduce on their own, and the number of women that use sperm donors is also rising. Although this is a big decision for the woman, it is also a big decision for the donor. Anyone considering donating their sperm or eggs should weigh the decision carefully and understand what their rights are afterward.
Florida Law on Donor’s Rights
According to Florida Statute Section 742.14, egg, sperm, and pre-embryo donors relinquish all of their parental rights to any child born through their donation. In most cases, this applies to anonymous donations, in which it would be very difficult for a donor to learn where their child is or where they were even born.
The relinquishment of parental rights occurs immediately after a donation is given. This means that donors cannot later on attempt to claim any type of child custody, nor can they be expected to pay child support. The only exception to this would be if there was an adoption agreement between the donor and the recipient, although these cases are extremely rare. When the two parties know each other, however, this may allow the donor more rights.
Donors in Romantic Relationships
When the donor is in a romantic relationship with the recipient, the donor may have a claim to parental rights.
The Florida Supreme Court heard a case involving two women in a romantic relationship. One of the women donated her egg to her partner so she could carry a child to term. The couple later broke up and the donor wanted access to the child, which the recipient denied. The Supreme Court issued a judgment in favor of the donor, claiming that she did have parental rights due to the nature of the relationship between the two women at the time of conception and gestation.
Due to this, it is important for anyone in this situation to draft an agreement that outlines the rights of the donor and the recipient, during pregnancy, and after the child is born. This can make things less complicated should the relationship ever dissolve, with both partners wanting to retain parental rights.
Our Florida Family Lawyers can Help with Your Case
Family law matters are always complicated, but in the case of sperm and egg donors, it becomes even more complex. If you want to retain your rights, or are in midst of child custody issues, call our Orlando family lawyers at O’Mara Law Group. We have the necessary skills and experience to advise on your case, help you navigate the legal system, and work to protect your rights every step of the way. When you need sound legal advice, call us at (407) 634-6604 or contact us online to reach one of our attorneys.