Do Sperm And Egg Donors Have Parental Rights Under Florida Law?
There are a lot of ways to create a family. Advancements in the medical field, for instance, have made it possible to use in vitro fertilization, often with the help of a surrogate, to conceive a child. While these types of procedures are becoming more common, they still raise a lot of questions about the parental rights of the parties involved, especially egg and sperm donors. This can be a complicated issue, with a lot of legal ramifications, so if you are thinking about becoming a donor, or are considering using donated genetic material to conceive, you should strongly consider working with a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyer who can discuss the legal implications of the procedure with you.
Relinquishing Parental Rights
Under Florida law, individuals who donate eggs, sperms, or pre embryos legally relinquish all of their maternal and parental rights and obligations with respect to any resulting children, unless the donors are also the commissioning couple. Essentially, when someone donates his or her genetic material, that person is almost always presumptively waiving parental rights and obligations to any child that later results from the donation.
Preplanned Adoption Agreements
While the law seems pretty clear regarding the waiver of parental rights for donors, there are actually a few ways to overcome this presumption. A donor who wishes to retain parental rights, can, for instance, do so by executing a preplanned adoption agreement, which will establish:
- The medical procedure to be used for the donation;
- The intent of the donor to help parent the child;
- The intent of the donor to adopt the child after its birth; and
- The relinquishment of the rights of the birth parent.
These contracts are similar to surrogacy agreements and can have far-reaching consequences for parents, making it particularly important for donors and parents to have an attorney review the contract before signing.
While the parental rights over a child are presumptively waived in Florida (in the absence of a preplanned adoption agreement), state courts have recognized another exception to this rule. If, for instance, a donor and a carrier are romantically involved or otherwise have a close personal relationship, the donor may have implied parental rights. In these cases, additional steps will usually be required to relinquish parental rights, including the creation of a written agreement that clearly defines the rights of all parties involved. These agreements can even address the parties’ intention to remain in contact if parental rights are waived. However, these contracts are only enforceable if they are in the proper legal format, so if your friend or romantic partner is considering donating genetic material for conception purposes, you should think about reaching out to an attorney for help drafting a solid legal agreement.
Call Our Fort Lauderdale Legal Team
Bringing a child into the world can be one of the most exciting experiences of a parent’s life. When medical procedures and third parties are involved, however, issues could arise regarding parental rights and obligations. To ensure that you understand your rights and the rights of third parties when conceiving a child through in vitro fertilization, please call 954-945-7591 and speak with experienced child custody attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today.