Egg Donation Agreements – what’s up with this anyway?
August 5, 2011 | By: Liz | Filed under: Deadly Silence, Egg Donation, IVF, Personal Musings, Thinking Out Loud, Third-Party Assisted Reproduction, Thoughts on Choosing an Egg Donor
If you are going through an egg donation right now or are considering it, or know someone who is: Listen up!
I have to say I have a little bug up my arse today. I just finished writing an article for the American Bar Association’s Family Advocate magazine, talking about why you need to draft egg donation agreements and what you need to include in them. I also have been working on the same issue in my e-book. But what’s really got me peeved is the amount of explaining I have to do with potential clients, or just people calling for a consult, about why egg donation agreements are so important.
In two words: parental rights.
I don’t know whether it is agencies trying to save their clients’ money or whether its clinics trying to make things easier but let me tell you that the consent forms you sign at your clinic doesn’t provide you and your soon to be larger family in the event your child gets sick and you need medical information from you donor (just one of the many benefits that can be addressed in an egg donation agreement). And any representation that anyone makes to you about someone living in a “donor friendly” state thus you don’t have to be worried about parental rights, is only 1/4 correct. If you are lucky enough to live in a state with an egg donation statute that is a huge plus, but I bet you anything that statute says something about the fact the someone, preferably you and your donor, sign some document stating that this statute is going to apply to your relationship and your donor isn’t going to have any rights or responsibilities with respect to any child conceived from your donation.
And even if the statute doesn’t require a legal document, egg donation agreements state the parties’ intent throughout the agreement and the law in the United States pretty much consistently relies on the parties’ intent as they enter into third party assisted reproductive arrangements, so statute or no statute, having a legal document that addresses your intent is critical.
There are ten key points on which you want to express your intent. Other than parental rights, can you guess what the other nine might be?
This is your baby folks — or this is a baby you don’t want to have responsibility for if you are an egg donor. This is a family and this is the rest of your life. Why wouldn’t you take the time to at least speak with a reproductive lawyer in your area about whether the steps you are taking are sufficient to protect you and your family, or you from having an unwanted family? One of my clients and I had this discussion one day. Their agency was telling them that they didn’t need an egg donation agreement and that it was a waste of money and time. Once I explained my top ten reasons to have an egg donation agreement, my former client was speechless for a few minutes. And then he responded with: “when you put it that way, it seems like it’s kind of a no-brainer. . . . ”
I understand — all reproductive lawyers understand how expensive this process is and how overwhelming it is. We all want the same thing for you. A protected family or lack thereof. If you can’t afford our fees, most of us will try and work with you but in the grand scheme of things what you spend on your egg donation agreement is pennies compared to what you are spending on the rest of the process and if you look at its value over time, well in the words of my former client, I think it’s a no brainer.
So anyone want to take a shot at the other 9 things on my top ten list? Egg donation agreements run about 30 pages. What the heck do we put in the agreement that could possibly make it so long?
Thanks for listening to me vent. I look forward to posting a link to the article I wrote for the Family Advocate and I look forward to the publication of my e-book where I answer all these questions. But in the meantime, feel free to ask me about it. It’s your family or someone else’s . . . you should know what you might be missing.
p.s. this post wasn’t proofed so please forgive typos.