Sperm and Egg Donor Rights
Some couples enjoy the freedom that comes with being childless, whereas others yearn for the pitter patter of little feet. For same sex couples, as well as heterosexual partners experiencing problems with infertility, sperm and egg donation is one of several viable options towards having a family of your own. While using a donor or surrogate to have a child can bring a couple closer together, it is an emotional process that can end up becoming complicated, particularly if the parents in question end up separating or going through a divorce. Custody disputes over sperm or egg donor rights are not uncommon, and can be emotionally wrenching for all those involved. Fortunately, Florida state laws and prior court rulings do provide some clear guidance in handling these matters, and can help ensure the legal rights of both the parents and child are protected.
Florida Laws on Donor Rights
Many of us have heard horror stories about custody and legal battles between sperm or egg donors and parents. These stories usually center around a donor who ends up being sued for child support, or one who intrudes on the child’s life, contrary to prior agreements. While the legalities and long term ramifications of sperm and egg donation are murky in some states, Florida law is clear on the rights of anonymous donors and those who have entered agreements to remain anonymous or not be a part of the child’s life.
Under the Florida Statutes (Section 742.14), donors who have entered pre-planned adoption agreements relinquish all parental rights to the resulting child. While this law provides security to the donor as well as to the parents against any future issues that may arise, it also underlines the importance of having a properly worded, legal agreement in place prior to making or accepting a donation. Absent this agreement, the donor would be able to assert their rights to the child, and would have little protection against actions seeking child support.
Donor Rights In the Event of A Divorce or Separation
In some cases involving children conceived through sperm or egg donations, the donor themselves is a part of the couple. In these situations, barring any legal agreement stating otherwise, the above laws would not apply. The donor, who is acting as a parent as well, would have the right to be included in time sharing and parenting plans, as well as bearing some responsibility in terms of financially supporting the child. A 2013 Orlando Sentinel report on sperm or egg donors in same sex marriages provides an example of this type of case, in which a woman who provided an egg to be fertilized and implanted into her partner was denied visitation when the couple separated. Though divided on the issue, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in the egg donor’s favor, stating it was unconstitutional to restrict the woman’s parenting rights in light of the fact that both women had willingly entered the parenting relationship.
We Are Eager to Assist You Today
If you are involved in a donor related child custody, support or timesharing dispute, contact Hancock & Associates, P.A. today. Our Florida child custody attorneys provide the professional legal representation you need to defend the rights of both you and your child in these situations. We have offices in Orlando and Tampa; call or contact our office online to set up a meeting with one of our attorneys. Same day consultations are available.