Science has made incredible advances in the field of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in recent years. There are more ways than ever to conceive a child, which is incredible news for those who want to raise children but are unable to do so for various reasons.
We have detailed some of the most common forms of ART in a previous blog post, which you can read here. Some of these methods include fertility treatments, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and surrogacy.
However, while the decision to have a child is a massive choice in and of itself, the choice to utilize ART to conceive a child requires even more consideration. The manner in which a great deal of ART is performed raises major legal, practical, and even ethical questions that every couple should thoroughly think through before moving forward.
In this blog we have detailed five important considerations for parents who are entertaining the possibility of using some form of ART. Keep in mind, this blog is not intended as legal advice for your specific situation, and depending on your circumstances, there could be many other things you should consider before utilizing ART. Contact New Beginnings Family Law to discuss the specific circumstances surrounding your potential choice to pursue ART.
Most forms of ART can be incredibly expensive, without any surefire guarantee that they will work. There is a possibility that you will spend tens of thousands of dollars and never achieve the results you desire. You have to weigh the costs versus the risks and potential benefits, and decide exactly how much you are willing to spend in pursuit of having a child. In some cases, an adoption may be the more affordable route.
As we previously mentioned, there are many different forms of ART, each with its own costs, benefits, risks, and questions that must be answered. Are you willing to use an anonymous donor for sperm or an egg? If you are going to use a surrogate, who will carry the child? Will a known donor have a relationship with their biological child, even though you and your spouse will be raising him or her? You must carefully choose which type of ART is right for your needs with the help and guidance of professionals.
ART can raise major legal questions about estate planning, particularly in cases where the child was born of donated gametes. For example, if a trust were to be specifically left for the benefit of a grandparent’s biological descendants, would the child be entitled to the trust’s distributions? Or, if one spouse has cryogenically preserved his or her gametes, and then passes away, should probate be delayed or affected if the remaining spouse chooses to utilize the frozen eggs or sperm to conceive a biological child of the deceased? These are very complex legal matters that have not been entirely settled yet due to the fact that the technology is so recent.
Any time you enlist a third party, such as a surrogate or a sperm donor, there is the potential for misunderstandings and changed minds. Who is legally entitled to parental rights over the child when a conflict occurs between the couple that intended to raise the child and the biological parent who had previously agreed to carry the child or donate their genetic material to conceive the child? The law tends to skew towards ruling in such cases based on the original intent of the agreement, but it is still a very new area of the law with very little case law to turn to.
When methods of ART like in vitro fertilization are utilized where more than one embryo is used at a time, the potential for multiple gestation becomes much higher. Perhaps you were financially prepared to raise one child, but what about two or even three all at once? Consider the increased chances of having multiples when you utilize ART.
As previously mentioned, this list is by no means all-inclusive of the potential things you should consider before electing to pursue any form of ART. It is a major decision that should never be taken lightly. New Beginnings Family Law is one of the few law firms in Alabama that handles the intersection of ART and family law, so if you are considering using ART, please contact us today.
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