Infertility affects many hopeful parents across South Carolina and beyond. Fortunately, with the rapidly advancing field of assisted reproductive technology, there are more options than ever for parents who are struggling to have a child.
Whether you’re an intended parent or you’re considering becoming a sperm donor or egg donor in South Carolina to help others become parents, there are some important legal processes you’ll need to follow. All intended parents and gamete donors must understand the expectations involved in assisted reproduction and take proper steps to ensure parentage before they even begin the egg or sperm donor process — and the first step is contacting an experienced ART lawyer like attorney Jim Thompson.
When you work with the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, we’ll make sure that you understand all the legalities involved in an egg or sperm donation in South Carolina and help you complete the legal process effectively. To learn more about what may be required in your situation, please give us a call at 864-573-5533.
The Legal Process of Sperm or Egg Donation
With sperm or egg donation, the intended parent(s) may connect with a prospective donor through an agency, their fertility clinic or on their own. Depending on how they connect with their donor, the intended parent(s) and their donor may need to enter into a “donation agreement” where they directly contract with each other. At other times, they may only need to execute a detailed consent document with their fertility clinic.
Because the legal requirements vary by situation, whether you’re an intended parent or a prospective egg or sperm donor, it’s important that you consult with an experienced ART attorney to make sure you understand the risks and liabilities associated with a gamete donation.
Many times in cases where the intended parents and gamete donor don’t know each other, the necessary legalities are taken care of at the time of donation at the fertility clinic where it’s performed. However, not all medical clinics’ egg donor contracts and sperm donor agreements address the same issues, which is why we still recommend a donor or intended parent work with a lawyer to ensure all the necessary legalities are covered. If you’re planning to work with an intended parent or gamete donor that you know, it will be best to work directly with an ART attorney from the very beginning of the process, too.
Considerations for Egg Donors in S.C.
If you’re a woman looking to be an egg donor, there are some things to be aware of before moving forward with the process. Unlike the sperm donor process, the egg donor process is more invasive; it will require that you take fertility medication and undergo some procedures that come with risks. Therefore, it’s critical that you consult with a medical professional to understand those risks, as well as complete an egg donor contract that addresses the compensation you’ll receive for your donation, as well as your legal rights and liabilities.
If you are working directly with intended parents to complete an egg donation in South Carolina, you will each need to have your own attorney. Attorney Jim Thompson can help you draft a legal donor contract that satisfies the necessary legal requirements, including your rights and roles in the process, any post-birth relationship you’ll have with the child (if any), and the proper termination of your parental rights. This contract will be sent to the intended parents’ lawyer for edits and, as soon as both parties are comfortable with the egg donation agreement, you’ll be able to move forward with the egg donor process.
Considerations for Sperm Donors in S.C.
Because the sperm donor process is less involved than the egg donor process, many fertility clinics have created donor agreements that address the legalities of donating sperm in South Carolina, to be completed when a donor submits his donation. Just as a donor contract outlines for an egg donor, a sperm donor agreement should address the parental rights of the donor, any compensation he receives and more.
Under certain situations in South Carolina, a man donating his sperm may be considered a legal father and be obligated to financially support any child that results from his donation. Therefore, it’s critical that he consult with knowledgeable legal counsel before entering into a sperm donor agreement or signing a donor consent form — so that he understands the potential legal repercussions that could result from a sperm donation in South Carolina.
Considerations for Intended Parents in S.C.
There are many reasons that people may choose to pursue ART to have a child. For example, an egg donation may be used when the intended mother is able to gestate the child on her own, or it may be used in connection with the use of a gestational surrogate. Sperm donation may be used when a single woman or same-sex female couple are looking to have a child, or in cases where a man’s sperm is not viable for a traditional pregnancy.
If you think you’ll need to use an egg or sperm donor for your pregnancy or surrogacy, you should consult with attorney Jim Thompson to learn more about the legal risks involved and the steps you’ll need to take for a successful gamete donation. Typically, we’ll draft a sperm or egg donor agreement for your review and, once approved, it will be sent to your donor, who will then review it with their attorney (we can refer your donor to an experienced ART attorney to separately represent their interests and legal rights). Once both parties are comfortable with the legal contract, you’ll be able to safely move forward with your gamete donation — and take the final steps toward having a child.
While sperm and egg donation in South Carolina can be a simple process, there are some potential legal, medical and social complexities to keep in mind. That’s why it’s so important that you work with a lawyer to protect your parental rights to your child and create a stress-free gamete donation process. Please contact our office today to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.