Do: Find a donor that shares similar values about egg donation.
Have you come to the realization that in order to build your family, you will need the assistance of an egg donor? Regardless of whether you plan to carry the child yourself or hire a surrogate, the egg donor that you choose will share a permanent genetic connection with your child – a critical and permanent connection between your families. That is why it is so important to have upfront conversations with any known egg donor. You want to confirm that they want the same level of connection and involvement with your child that you are prepared to offer. This is not a binary yes/no choice, but rather a continuum of possibilities for the donor, intended parent(s), and later child to navigate together. The Lucina Scale can be a helpful tool to frame these conversations.
Donors and recipients may also each have their own unique sets of values around moral or religious questions of termination of pregnancy and disposition of embryos. Before moving forward with egg donation using a known donor, these possibilities should be discussed and agreed upon.
Don’t: Treat egg donation with secrecy and shame.
As Assisted Reproductive Technologies become more accessible and more women are delaying beginning their families until they are older, egg donation is becoming more common. At the same time, with the advent of affordable at-home DNA testing, the days of anonymous egg donors are gone. The feedback of donor conceived people is nearly universal that knowing they were donor conceived from early childhood helps it to just be a positive part of their norm, without stigma or shame.
Do: Memorialize your agreement in writing with the help of legal counsel.
The Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 establishes the requirements for gamete donors in Illinois. 750 ILCS 46/703 requires a written agreement where both the donor and intended recipient were represented by counsel for a donor to not be treated as an intended parent. That is why it is important that you not only memorialize your agreement in writing, but that you get the advice of an attorney, like Rincker Law, before any embryo transfer involving donated eggs.
In addition, egg donation involves at least some degree of cost and potential medical risk to the donor. A written agreement will outline how those expenses will be allocated and ensure that each side is financially protected.
Don’t: Assume nothing could ever go wrong.
If you are choosing to use a known egg donor, as opposed to purchasing eggs through a cryobank, there is a good chance that the reason is because you know and trust the donor you are working with. That being said, the stakes of ensuring that any child resulting from egg donation has the legal parentage that was intended at their conception is critical. Even good people can change their mind and sometimes circumstances out of anyone’s control cause the issue of parentage to come up, even years down the line.
If you plan to conceive in Illinois with the help of a known sperm donor, contact Rincker Law today! We can discuss your situation and prepare an agreement that reflects the intent of you and your donor. Rincker Law can also represent egg donors to help protect their separate legal and financial interests.