Rights and Responsibilities of Known Sperm Donors

 Posted on February 28, 2019 in Paternity

Rights and Responsibilities of Known Sperm DonorsWhen it comes to artificial insemination and parental rights, there is an important distinction between a known and unknown sperm donor. A man waives his paternity rights and responsibilities when he donates sperm to a medical facility that uses it to impregnate an unrelated woman. The man could not later claim parenting time, and the woman could not force the man to pay child support. However, some men and women enter private agreements for the woman to use a sperm donation to have a child. Illinois courts may not recognize private agreements that claim to waive a father’s parental rights.

Entering an Agreement

Some prospective parents prefer to know the man who will be the biological father rather than using a sample from someone anonymous. They may place a public notice to look for a donor or even ask a friend. When entering a private sperm donor agreement, it is wise for both parties to create a contract that outlines whether:

  • The father will have any rights as a parent;
  • The mother can request financial support from the father; or
  • The father can have a relationship with the child.

It is useful to write out each party’s expectations from the agreement, even if they are unsure whether the contract is legally enforceable.

The Process

A licensed medical facility must perform the insemination procedure to ensure that the father waives his parental rights. There may be a question of fact about how the woman became pregnant if she privately handles the procedure. The issue becomes more complicated if the man and woman had a sexual relationship before the insemination. Even after the woman goes through the insemination process, either party could argue that the child was conceived through intercourse, which would prevent the father from waiving his rights.

Legal Question

A private contract with a known sperm donor may work fine as long as both parties stick to the agreement. However, one of the parties may change his or her mind after the child is born. The mother may decide that she needs child support, or the father may decide that he wants to see his child. Courts will not uphold a private agreement unless there is clear documentation of:

  • The method of the child’s conception;
  • The legal steps that the father took to waive his rights; and
  • The intentions of both parties.

Even with this evidence, the decision may depend on the rationale of each court.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney

Illinois law makes it difficult for a father to waive his rights because it is in the best interest of a child to have two legal parents. A St. Charles, Illinois, family law attorney at Goostree Law Group can discuss your legal obligations as a sperm donor or surrogate mother. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.



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