Deciphering Donor Rights And Obligations

Sperm Donors: Informal And Formal

Indiana law is clear on the rights and responsibilities of "true" sperm donors: they relinquish any and all parental rights to any and all children born of their donated sperm. True sperm donors work with a licensed medical doctor and sperm bank when procuring and donating the sperm. They are anonymous, unknown donors in the view of the law. If the sperm donor is not the mother's legal husband then both the donor and the child born have no rights or obligations to one another.

However, informal sperm donation is another matter entirely. Any arrangement that is not made with a licensed medical doctor does not protect a sperm donor from:

  • Child support
  • Paternity
  • Visitation

When a man donates sperm to a sperm bank, he is in contract with the sperm bank, not the woman who receives the sperm. By using a licensed doctor and sperm bank, he is protected from future paternity claims as part of his donor agreement.

The Benefits Of A Sperm Bank And Licensed Doctor

A husband who consents to his wife being artificially inseminated with donated sperm by a licensed doctor is considered to be the legal father of that child.

Contracts made between known sperm donors not donating to a sperm bank and mothers can illuminate the intentions of both parties but are not guaranteed. The best way to ensure anonymous, nonresponsible paternity is to donate and receive sperm utilizing a licensed medical doctor and through a sperm bank. The current trend is for the sperm banks to offer the donor the option of releasing their identity when the child turns 18. This is known as a donor identification release.

Sperm donation has helped millions of women become mothers. Sperm donation and artificial insemination (AI) as well as other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have offered tremendous strides in overcoming infertility and in creating families.

If you are considering donating sperm or utilizing donated sperm, it is of the utmost importance that you understand your rights and responsibilities. Speaking with an attorney experienced with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) is the best way to ensure that your legal obligations as a donor or receiver are both understood and protected. Call Herrin & Leach in Indianapolis at 317-566-2174 and speak with a lawyer or contact us online.