Currently, 54 percent of kids in this country don’t live in a home with two heterosexual parents in their first marriage, according to a recent Pew Research Center report

It’s safe to say that if you mention a “traditional” family you may get a couple raised eyebrows coming your way.

There are various ways to start a family, but let’s talk about a more familiar one – using a sperm donor.   I’m sure you’ve heard of sperm banks, but did you know that it’s becoming more wide-spread to use a donor of your own and completely pass on using a bank? A lot of future parents are looking at friends to help them start or expand their family.  Whether you’re thinking of using a sperm bank or family friend, make sure you keep two things in mind:  1) carefully consider the method of the insemination; and 2) have all parties sign a Sperm Donor Agreement.

  • To turkey-baste or not to turkey-baste: Yes, people do it, and yes, it sometimes works, but whether you obtain sperm from a bank or have a friend as your donor, a Sperm Donor Agreement will be most legally viable if a licensed physician is involved with the insemination, not to mention, it’ll be more sterile.  Courts are more likely to be comfortable enforcing a Sperm Donor Agreement when a doctor performs the transfer.  In some states it is required by statute. 
  • Sperm Donor Agreements are essential: The main thing that the Sperm Donor Agreement shows is “intent”.  The primary purpose of this document is to clearly identify that although the sperm donor is the biological father, he intends to sever all legal rights and responsibilities of fatherhood, including visitation access, all decisions about the child, and responsibilities for child support, etc.  Even if the agreement is legally uncertain in your state, it will clearly state the intent of all the parties.  And intent goes a long way.   The parties will negotiate the terms and state their intentions in an agreement, in which all parties sign.  This will make it unlikely that the parties will later disagree and bring the matter before a court.  But, if something does occur and you do need to go to court, the court will look to the agreement for guidance in what you intended and often use the agreement and the intent of the agreement as a factor in making its decision.

If there is a question on the legality of your Sperm Donor Agreement and the rights of the biological father, you’ll definitely want to get up in front of the judge and tell him that all the parties signed a Sperm Donor Agreement and the insemination was done by a licensed physician instead of having to tell the court that there was no written agreement in place and you used a turkey-baster. 

Sperm Donor Agreements are not expensive.  As a paralegal, I work directly with the parties to draft the agreement according to their terms.  An attorney is involved to assist with legal advice for our clients, but the bulk of the work is done by paralegals. 

For more information on family, adoption, and gestational surrogacy law, contact a Sioux City lawyer, Sioux Falls lawyer, or Omaha lawyer today!


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