As an egg recipient, there are some legal rights and obligations to be aware of. While the following is a summary of the information, you will need to consult with an attorney who is familiar with reproductive medicine. Your Egg Donation, Inc. case manager can refer you to one if needed.
The legal process involved in egg donation only starts once your cycling doctor has medically cleared your chosen donor. At that point, your attorney will draft an Egg Donor Agreement, for signature by both you and the donor. An independent attorney will represent your donor and coordinate with your lawyer to resolve any outstanding legal issues.
Aside from the basics of the process of retrieving eggs, and coordinating all aspects of payment, legal agreements also need to address several questions about the eggs themselves, such as how to handle excess cryopreserved embryos. Sometimes during a cycle, there are more viable embryos than should be implanted at once. These embryos are then frozen, and prospective parents will need to decide ahead of time what to do with them.
If the first cycle is successful, parents may choose to store the frozen embryos for a future cycle so any additional children would be biological siblings. Other options, such as donation or destruction, would be decided at the time it comes up and often requires a release signed by the egg donor. Most Egg Donation Agreements include a clause that requires the egg donor to maintain updated contact information for this reason. A small percentage of donors may restrict the disposition of embryos, and prospective parents should be prepared for this. A properly prepared legal agreement is key to enabling future considerations, as it facilitates discussion of these events well ahead of time.
Another issue that should be addressed in the Egg Donor Agreement is how contact between the donor and the recipient will be handled at the time of the cycle and in the future. Some donors opt for complete privacy and have no wish to speak with the recipient at all, or meet future children, even when they reach adulthood. Other donors remain open to some contact. How much contact, and what form it will take, is an important part of the legal process.
Despite the complex nature of the legal side of egg donation, it remains an excellent option for many women who struggle with infertility. Consulting with a reproductive medicine attorney will help put your mind at ease about the legal aspects of egg donation. To have more of your questions about egg donation answered, check out our Egg Donation FAQ.