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Sperm Donor Agreements
If you’re thinking about having a baby with a sperm donor or becoming a sperm donor, our family solicitors are here to help you with all the legal parts of the process. We’ll make sure that you, your partner (if you have one) and the child have as much protection as possible.
Private sperm donations, where the parents and the sperm donor know each other, are becoming increasingly popular. In such cases, it is usually a good idea for the parties to enter into a Sperm Donor Agreement to set out the terms of the arrangement.
It’s really important to seek advice about entering into a Sperm Donor Agreement because these documents are not legally binding.
At Crisp & Co, we are family law specialists with particular experience advising people about fertility law issues. We have built our reputation on our welcoming, inclusive service and have a great deal of expertise advising on legal issues which commonly affect the LGBT+ community.
We can offer you straightforward, practical advice about Sperm Donor Agreements so you can make the best choices for you and your family.
Contact our Sperm Donor Agreement solicitors
How our Sperm Donor Agreement solicitors can help
It’s really important to understand the legal effect of having a child through a private sperm donor arrangement. For example, who will the father or second parent of the child be? Will it be the mother’s spouse or civil partner? Or will it be the sperm donor?
Our fertility law and sperm donation solicitors are here to help with these difficult questions. We can provide all the advice you need about sperm donation, sperm donor requirements and Sperm Donor Agreements.
We’ll explain the complex law in simple terms so you are fully aware of how your arrangement will work and whether it’s right for you. We’ll make sure that you have the protection you need to proceed with confidence.
We can also provide other legal assistance, including:
- Advice about parental responsibility
- Child arrangements and contact between children and sperm donors
- Co-parenting arrangements for separated parents
We advise both sperm donors and intended parents
Whether you dream of having a child or you want to give someone the gift of parenthood, we are here to help.
Our solicitors can help both sperm donors and prospective parents with all the legal aspects of sperm donation and Sperm Donor Agreements. We’ll listen closely to your needs, provide support if you have any worries, and offer bespoke advice.
What is a Sperm Donor Agreement and what does it cover?
A Sperm Donation Agreement can set out your intentions for how you want the sperm donation to work. It helps to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that there is no confusion about the part everyone plays.
For example, if you want to use a known sperm donor, but you and your partner want to be the legal parents of the child instead of the donor, your Sperm Donation Agreement can express this intention.
If you want your sperm donor to play a role in your child’s life, you could also use your Sperm Donor Agreement to set out arrangements for this.
Sperm Donor Agreements are not legally binding – you cannot change a child’s parents with a contract and parents can typically change their mind about who spends time with their child. However, if a legal dispute does arise in the future, the Agreement can demonstrate what everyone’s intentions were when you agreed to the sperm donation.
Our fertility law solicitors can provide practical advice about entering into a Sperm Donor Agreement and what your document should cover to reflect your personal situation and protect your interests.
How does sperm donation work?
The main methods of sperm donation are:
- Sperm donation through a clinic licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) – The sperm donor will not be the legal parent to the child nor have any rights about how the child is brought up.
- Sperm donation through an unlicensed clinic – The sperm donor may be the child’s legal father, depending on the circumstances.
- Sperm donation through a private arrangement – The sperm donor will typically be known to the intended parents. The sperm donor may be the child’s legal father, depending on the circumstances.
Private arrangements and unlicensed sperm donation can have serious legal implications for both sperm donors and intended parents. It’s important that you fully understand how your sperm donation will work and whether you have any alternative options.
For a more in-depth explanation about how sperm donation works, read our article: Sperm Donation – How Does it Work?
Is the sperm donor the father?
The law on sperm donation is complex. In many cases, a sperm donor is not the legal father, and they don’t have any parental responsibility. However, in some cases, the sperm donor is the legal father and can acquire parental responsibility.
Whether a sperm donor is the legal father depends on:
- Whether you use a HFEA licensed clinic to conceive the child
- Whether the intended parents are married or in a civil partnership
- How the child’s conception takes place (e.g. through artificial insemination or sexual intercourse)
Why is legal parenthood and parental responsibility important?
Parenthood is a legal connection between parent and child that bestows important legal rights, such as inheritance rights and next-of-kin rights, as well as the duty to financially support the child. A child can only have two legal parents. So, in many sperm donation scenarios, it is intended that the sperm donor should not be a legal parent.
Parental responsibility is the rights and duties to make decisions about a child’s upbringing (read more about parental responsibility here). Any number of people can acquire parental responsibility.
In many cases, parents do not intend for their sperm donor to have parental responsibility. However, depending on the circumstances of the sperm donation, the donor may be able to acquire it (read more about sperm donors and parental responsibility here).
How can a Sperm Donor Agreement help during a dispute?
In private sperm donation arrangements where the sperm donor is known to the parents, it is common for the donor to have ongoing contact with the child and even act as a co-parent.
So, it is not unusual for disputes to arise because the intended parents and sperm donor have fallen out. For example, the sperm donor may decide they want to play a bigger part in the child’s life and the parents may not want this. Alternatively, the parents may want the sperm donor to contribute financially to the child’s upbringing, so may try to argue that the donor is a legal parent.
A Sperm Donor Agreement can make it clear what your intentions and expectations were when you agreed to be a sperm donor or to have a child through sperm donation. Although the Agreement is not legally binding, it can help if a dispute arises.
Can a Sperm Donor Agreement change who a child’s father is?
No, you cannot use a Sperm Donor Agreement to change a child’s legal father or second parent. A child’s legal father is determined by how the sperm donation took place or by a court order.