Why You Need an Attorney for Egg and Embryo Donation in NC

Whether you are a prospective single parent, a same-sex couple or a couple who has struggled with infertility, you may require the assistance of a generous donor to complete your family. Or, if you have leftover frozen embryos following a successful IVF journey, you may be interested in donating them to help another couple experience the gift of parenthood.

Whether you are interested in egg donation or embryo adoption in North Carolina, Herring & Mills, PLLC can provide the guidance, information and legal representation you need. Call us today at 919-821-1860, or read below for more information about egg and embryo donation in North Carolina.

Using Donor Eggs in North Carolina

For various reasons, a woman’s eggs may not be viable. In these circumstances, she may use an egg donor, either to carry a pregnancy on her own or to pursue gestational surrogacy. Many same-sex male couples also turn to an egg donor when growing their families through surrogacy.

Just as men may donate sperm, women may donate eggs (or ova); the procedure for women is substantially more involved, however, and includes invasive surgery. The egg donor may be anonymous, a friend or family member, or an unrelated third party who is compensated.

What is the Egg Donor Process in North Carolina?

The egg donation process generally takes approximately four to six weeks. The egg donor is placed on fertility drugs that stimulate the production of eggs and, upon the physician’s determination that production has peaked, the retrieval procedure is scheduled. The egg donor procedure is done outpatient, with the donor sedated, and takes 20–30 minutes. During the procedure, eggs are extracted by the physician and preserved for the recipient. After an hour or two of observation and rest, the donor is released by the physician and can resume normal activity.

Being an egg donor requires medical testing, injections of fertility drugs, and a surgical procedure; in most cases, the donor receives compensation beyond payment of her medical expenses, which ranges nationwide from $3,000–$9,000. Once an intended mother and her fertility doctor have decided on this path and an egg donor is found, the fertility clinic will typically require a copy of a signed agreement between the intended parents and the egg donor before continuing treatment.

Because the donor egg process is complex, the parties should have legal representation.

Why You Need an Attorney

An experienced attorney is necessary for any intended parent using an egg donor in North Carolina. Working with an attorney helps to ensure that the donation process is completed legally and ethically, and it ensures that your rights, the rights of the donor and the rights of your future children are protected.

E. Parker Herring regularly works with individuals and couples who require preparation of an egg donor contract, known officially as an Ova Donation Agreement. This agreement spells out each party’s intentions, reducing the risk of disputes throughout the egg donor process and after the resulting child is born.

Here’s what you can expect throughout the legal egg donation process with Herring & Mills:

1. Schedule a Consultation.

The prospective client(s) calls our office and schedules a consultation with Ms. Herring. Usually, this is the intended parent(s).

2. Draft and Review the Egg Donor Contract.

The individual or couple will meet with Ms. Herring, who will discuss with them the contents of the agreement, compensation for the donor, etc.

3. Send the Contract to the Donor Attorney for Review.

It is our policy that the donor reviews the agreement separately with her own attorney. Once the draft agreement has been finalized and approved by the client(s), we send it to the donor and her attorney.

4. Negotiate Changes to the Donation Agreement.

If any changes are needed or proposed by the donor’s attorney, we will review them with the client.

5. Sign the Final Donor Contract.

When the agreement is acceptable to all parties, we arrange for signing of the document, which must be done in front of a Notary Public. All parties receive copies of the signed agreement, as does the fertility clinic requiring it.

If you are considering using an egg donor in North Carolina, you are likely eager and excited to begin the process; this could bring you and your partner one step closer to becoming parents. However, before beginning any medical egg donor procedures, it is critical that you consult a North Carolina attorney experienced in assisted reproductive technology.

When you are ready to prepare an egg donor contract for your family, call 919-821-1860 or contact Herring & Mills online to schedule a consultation.

Embryo Donation and Embryo Adoption in N.C.

A relatively new — but increasingly common — way for hopeful parents to add to their families is through embryo adoption. This process allows struggling hopeful parents to experience pregnancy and childbirth using leftover frozen embryos donated by couples who have already completed their own families through in vitro fertilization.

Whether you are interested in adopting an embryo or donating embryos to another family, you will need to work with a trusted attorney who is experienced in this emerging area of the law.

How Does Embryo Donation Work?

In embryo donation and adoption, a couple is donating embryos to other couples who are struggling to conceive on their own. The donating family has typically been completed through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and does not plan to use their leftover frozen embryos. Rather than storing the embryos indefinitely, discarding them or donating them for scientific research, these families may choose to donate the embryos through an embryo adoption agency or a fertility clinic’s donor embryo program, or they may arrange a private donation with a friend or relative.

Once embryos are donated to a recipient family for the purpose of embryo adoption, the donor embryos can be transferred to the intended mother’s uterus, much like any other IVF procedure. However, before these medical procedures can begin, it is important to have a signed legal contract prepared by an experienced North Carolina attorney.

Why You Need an Attorney

Despite the terminology “embryo adoption,” the legal embryo donation process is actually more akin to a property transfer than a traditional child adoption. However, when handled correctly, the recipient family’s relationship with their resulting child is just as binding as a legal adoption.

Similar to the legal egg donation process, an attorney is required to prepare a thorough embryo donation agreement. The contract transfers ownership of the donated embryos to the intended parents and ensures the family donating embryos has no legal claim, parental rights or responsibilities for any resulting children.

Every situation is different, and it’s important to work closely with your attorney to ensure your legal contract is specific to your individual needs and circumstances. In general, the donor embryo contract will include terms like:

  • Confidentiality
  • Rights of the embryo recipients
  • Termination of rights and liability for the embryo donors
  • What will be done with any unused embryos following the donation
  • And more

Embryo donation and embryo adoption are relatively new processes, and laws are fairly unsettled. The attorneys of Herring & Mills are highly experienced in assisted reproduction law in North Carolina and can answer any questions you may have regarding the legal embryo donation process.

Herring & Mills, PLLC provides legal representation for all matters involving assisted reproductive technology to North Carolina clients, including egg donation, sperm donation and gestational surrogacy. To begin the process of obtaining an embryo or egg donor contract, call us at (919) 821-1860 or contact us online.