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What goes into an embryo donation contract?

After pursuing IVF, some people have leftover embryos. Rather than discard them or donate them to research, it is legal to donate them to help others have a family.

In most cases, fertility clinics require people to enter into embryo donation agreements to document the transfer of ownership of the embryos. The parties to the agreement are the donors (i.e. the people who created the embryos for themselves) and the "intended parents" (i.e. the recipients of the donated embryos).

Embryo donation agreements all have one thing in common: they contain strong language stating that the embryos donors are not the parents of the child. The parties are all in agreement that the donors should not be entitled to access or custody of the child, and that they should not be financially responsible for supporting the child. Beyond the legal basics, every embryo donation contract is different because it reflects the parties' intentions.

A contract will include the parties' decisions to questions such as:

  • will the child be able to meet the donors in the future?
  • will the donors provide updated medical information if their health changes?
  • who is entitled to know about the embryo donation?
  • if the donors have another child in the future, will they notify the intended parents?
  • who will be carrying the child? will a surrogate be involved?
  • do the donors want to be notified if the child develops a disease or disorder that may be hereditary?
  • are the donors donating some of their embryos to another person or couple at the same time?

Embryo donation is a beautiful thing, but there is a lot to consider to ensure it is done thoughtfully, legally and in a way that ensures everyone is on the same page and will be (as much as possible) for the rest of their lives.

If you are pursuing embryo donation as a donor or intended parent, give us a call or text us at 416-937-8768. We would be delighted to help you.

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