Donors and Surrogates FAQ



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Q: What assisted reproductive options are available?

When a couple needs reproductive assistance, a pregnancy can be achieved with a couple's own eggs and sperm, or with donor eggs, sperm, or embryos. In addition, a pregnancy may be carried by an egg donor (traditional surrogate) or by another woman with no genetic relationship to the baby (gestational carrier). One of the methods used to overcome infertility by couples, such as in-vitro fertilization, may be an option for achieving pregnancy with the help of a donor or a surrogate.

We strongly recommend that, if a donor or surrogate is involved, you seek the advice of legal counsel, so that you understand your legal rights and obligations throughout this complex and emotional process.


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Q: What is an egg donor?

Donor eggs may be an option for women with a uterus who are unlikely or unable to conceive with their own eggs. Egg donors undergo very similar medical and genetic screening as sperm donors. After a donor is selected, the recipient (the woman who will receive the eggs) has the eggs placed in her uterus, after they are fertilized. If an egg donor is used, the recipient will not be genetically related to the child, but she will carry the pregnancy and give birth.

We strongly recommend consulting an experienced attorney prior to becoming involved in the egg donation process, so that you understand the rights and responsibilities that come with your involvement.


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Q: What is a sperm donor?

Typically, a sperm donor is obtained from a sperm bank. Sperm donors undergo considerable medical and genetic testing, and are tested for infectious diseases. Sperm banks keep sperm frozen and quarantined for six months, after which time the donor is re-tested for infectious diseases before being released for use. Donor sperm may be used for insemination or in some of the other methods used to overcome infertility.

A consultation with a lawyer is highly recommended so that you understand any rights or responsibilities that a sperm donor might have.


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Q: What is a donor embryo?

When both the man and woman in a couple are infertile, an egg donor and a sperm donor can be used to create a donor embryo, which can then either be carried during pregnancy by the recipient or a surrogate.

We strongly recommend consulting with an experienced attorney prior to becoming involved in the embryo donation process, so that you understand your rights and responsibilities that come with your involvement.


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Q: What is a traditional surrogate?

A pregnancy may be carried by the egg donor, called a traditional surrogate. Pregnancy may be achieved in the surrogate through insemination or one of the other methods used to overcome infertility. A surrogate will then always be biologically related to the child.

We strongly recommend consulting an experienced attorney if you plan on using or serving as a traditional surrogate, so that you understand your rights and responsibilities throughout the process.


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Q: What is a gestational surrogate?

A pregnancy may be carried by another woman who has no genetic relationship to the child, called a gestational surrogate. In this instance, the eggs are removed from the infertile woman, fertilized with her spouse’s sperm, and placed into the gestational carrier's uterus. (This process usually involves in-vitro fertilization.) The gestational carrier will then not be genetically related to the child.

We strongly recommend consulting an experienced attorney if you plan on using or serving as a gestational surrogate, so that you understand your rights and responsibilities throughout the process.