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Drafting parental rights into artificial insemination agreements

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Though it may seem an inconvenience and an added expense, there are benefits to having an attorney review any private or business agreement you may be entering into. This is especially true when it comes to your rights as a parent or in some cases, as a donor.

As the recent case in Topeka, Kansas regarding sperm donor William Marotta has shown, some state's may not offer adequate protections to sperm donors wishing to provide their 'services' and then vanish. Some will hold those donors liable for parental rights even though they thought that they had relinquished them. After four years of litigation and legal bills, the court in Kansas finally declared that Marotta was not legally the child's father.

Back in 2002, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws recommended that states make explicit the fact that "a donor is not a parent of a child conceived by means of assisted reproduction and that no donor could be sued to support the resulting child." Most states however, have not adopted this language into their state statutes.

Luckily, for those donors residing in Texas, the Lone Star State was one of nine states to adopt the Conference's recommendations and update their statutes. Even though Texas has adopted these recommendations, ensuring that your agreement protects your wishes is a good idea.

For example, the Texas Family Code also requires that the donor provide his sperm donation to a licensed physician in order to fall into the category of a donor and not be held liable for parental rights. Additionally, if the woman who is to be inseminated is married, it is necessary for her husband to give written consent. Whether or not you are the donor or the recipient, ensuring that your ultimate desires and legal rights are correctly drafted and articulated into the agreement is paramount to avoiding future parental rights disputes.

If you are unsure about your parental rights and need assistance in exploring your options and or agreement, please contact the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance. Our knowledge and skill in addressing questions that arise from such scenarios as those described above will allow us to be a resourceful advocate on your behalf and protect your interests.

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