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  • Writer's pictureJanene Oleaga, Esq.

Donor Conceived People and the Definition of Family

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

If you haven't already watched, the HBO documentary Nuclear Family is all about one lesbian couple's fight to protect what they knew to be true: that their donor conceived daughters were legally theirs, and the four of them are family.

What happens when a sperm donor changes his mind?

Nuclear Family is the story of what can happen when a sperm donor decides he wants to parent - a scary concept for any couple working with a gamete donor. I get questions about the possibility of sperm donors, egg donors, and surrogates changing their mind and what happens if they do change their mind.

The answer depends on what you have done to protect your family legally.

Did you grow your family with eggs or sperm from a sperm bank or egg bank?

What forms does this bank require the donor complete?

Did you enter into a legally binding sperm donation agreement?

Does this contract comply with state law? Assisted reproduction is governed at the state level, and the laws of each state vary. Seek legal counsel licensed in the appropriate state before entering into a contract.

Did the donor understand and intend not to be a legal parent?

Did the donor have the benefit of independent counsel?

Did you take additional steps to protect your parental rights?

Judgment of parentage? Second parent adoption? Stepparent adoption?

Did you complete any estate planning documents?

Update coming soon.


More about assisted reproductive options for LGBTQ+ parents here.

Check out Gena Jaffe of connecting rainbows as we discuss securing legal parentage, here.

Big travel plans? Be sure to protect your family before you travel abroad. Read more here.

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