There are several aspects to having a child with the help of a sperm donor, such as finding a suitable donor or the insemination process. Another important aspect in this context is the legal relationship between the party who wants to become pregnant via insemination, any partners, a sperm donor and the child. It is true that a donor agreement is not required to regulate this legal relationship. However, the legal relationship between the parties is legally complex. In order to prevent disputes in the future and to provide certainty for all parties, it is wise for all parties to enter into a donor agreement. A donor agreement also ensures that the agreements between prospective parents and sperm donors are clear. Every donor agreement is a personal agreement, but an important agreement for everyone, because it also contains agreements about the child. By recording these agreements, there will also be less disagreement about the role of the donor in the life of the child. In addition to the benefits that the donor agreement can offer all parties, this blog successively discusses what a donor agreement entails, what information is stated in it and what concrete agreements can be made in it.
What is a donor agreement?
A donor contract or donor agreement is a contract in which the agreements between the intended parent(s) and a sperm donor are recorded. Since 2014, two types of donorship have been distinguished in the Netherlands: B and C donorship.
B-donorship means that a donation is made by a donor of a clinic unknown to the intended parents. However, this type of donor is registered by clinics with the Foundation Donor Data Artificial Fertilization. As a result of this registration, the conceived children later have the opportunity to find out his or her origin. Once the conceived child has reached the age of twelve, he or she can request some basic information about this type of donor. The basic data pertain to, for example, appearance, profession, family status and character traits as stated by the donor at the time of the donation. When the conceived child has reached the age of sixteen, he or her can also request the (other) personal data of this type of donor.
C-donorship, on the other hand, means that it concerns a donor that is known to the intended parents. This type of donor is usually someone from the circle of acquaintances or friends of the prospective parents or someone who the prospective parents themselves have found online, for example. The latter type of donor is also the donor with whom the donor agreements are usually concluded. The big advantage with this type of donor is that the intended parents know the donor and therefore his characteristics. Moreover, there is no waiting list and insemination can proceed quickly. However, it is important to make very good agreements with this type of donor and to record them. A donor agreement can provide clarification in advance in the event of questions or uncertainties. Should there ever be a lawsuit, such an agreement will show retrospectively what the agreements made are that the persons have agreed with each other and what intentions the parties had at the time of signing the agreement. In order to avoid legal conflicts and proceedings with the donor, it is therefore advisable to request legal assistance from a lawyer at an early stage in the proceedings to prepare the donor agreement.
What is stated in a donor agreement?
Often the following is laid down in the donor agreement:
- Name and address details of the donor
- Name and address details of prospective parent (s)
- Agreements about sperm donations such as duration, communication and handling
- Medical aspects such as research into hereditary defects
- Permission to inspect medical data
- Any allowances. These are often travel costs and costs for medical examinations of the donor.
- Rights and obligations of the donor.
- Anonymity and privacy rights
- Liability of both parties
- Other provisions in the event of a change in the situation
Legal rights and obligations regarding the child
When it comes to the conceived child, an unknown donor usually has no legal role. For example, a donor cannot enforce that he legally becomes the parent of the conceived child. This does not alter the fact that under certain circumstances it remains possible for the donor to legally become a parent of the child. The only way for the donor to legal parenthood is through recognition of the begotten child. However, the consent of the prospective parent is required for this. If the conceived child already has two legal parents, it is not possible for the donor to recognize the conceived child, even with permission. The rights are different for a known donor. In that case, for example, a visitation scheme and alimony can also play a role. It is therefore wise for the prospective parents to discuss and record the following points with the donor:
Legal parenting. By discussing this topic with the donor, the prospective parents can avoid that they are ultimately surprised by the fact that the donor wants to recognize the conceived child as his / her own and therefore wants to be its legal parent. It is therefore important to ask the donor in advance whether he would also like to recognize a child and / or have custody. In order to avoid discussion afterwards, it is wise to also clearly record what has been discussed between the donor and the intended parents on this point in the donor agreement. In this sense, the donor agreement also protects the legal parentage of the intended parent(s).
Contact and Guardianship. This is another important part that deserves to be discussed beforehand by the prospective parents and the donor in the donor agreement. More specifically, it can be arranged whether there will be contact between the sperm donor and the child. If this is the case, the donor agreement can also specify the circumstances under which this will take place. Otherwise, this can prevent the conceived child from being (unwanted) by surprise. In practice, there are differences in the agreements that prospective parents and sperm donors make with each other. One sperm donor will have monthly or quarterly contact with the child, and the other sperm donor will not meet with the child until they are sixteen. Ultimately, it is up to the donor and the prospective parents to agree on this together.
Child support. When it is clearly stated in the donor agreement that the donor only donates his seed to the intended parents, that is to say nothing more than makes it available for artificial insemination, the donor does not have to pay child support. After all, in that case he is not a causative agent. If this is not the case, it is possible that the donor is seen as a causal agent and is designated as a legal father through paternity action, who will be obliged to pay maintenance. This means that the donor agreement is not only important for the intended parent (s), but certainly also for the donor. With the donor agreement, the donor can prove that he is a donor, which ensures that the prospective parent (s) will not be able to demand maintenance.
Drafting, checking or adjusting a donor agreement
Do you already have a donor agreement and are there circumstances that have changed for you or for the donor? Then it may be wise to adjust the donor agreement. Think of a move that has consequences for the visiting arrangement. Or a change in income, which necessitates a review of alimony. If you change the agreement in time and make agreements that both parties support, you increase the chance of a stable and peaceful life, not only for yourself, but also for the child.
Do the circumstances remain the same for you? Even then it may be wise to have your donor agreement checked by a legal specialist. At Law & More we understand that every situation is different. That is why we take a personal approach. Law & More’s attorneys are experts in family law and can review your situation with you and determine whether the donor agreement deserves any adjustment.
Would you like to draw up a donor agreement under the guidance of an expert family law attorney? Even then Law & More is ready for you. Our lawyers can also provide you with legal assistance or advice in the event of a dispute between the intended parents and the donor. Do you have any other questions on this topic? Please contact Law & More, we will be happy to help you.