Legal Issues Surrounding Artificial Insemination

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Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization methods of conceiving babies is more prevalent today because of the advancements in medicine that make it a more viable option than ever to help couples conceive. With these procedures comes a myriad of questions and arguments with regards to the baby’s status and the proper designation and rights of the parents.

An experienced team of family law attorneys can help sort through the constantly-changing laws concerning reproductive rights and the laws specific to your state regarding artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.

Definition of Artificial Insemination

This technique can help with infertility in both women and men. During this procedure, sperm are injected directly in the cervix, uterus, or fallopian tubes of a woman. This shortens the trip necessary for sperm to reach its destination with less chance for any obstructions, with the hopes of making conception possible where in the past it was not.

Elements that Decrease Your Opportunity for a Successful Artificial Insemination

  • Advanced age of the women
  • Poor sperm or egg quality
  • Irreversible damage or blockage of fallopian tubes
  • Severe endometriosis

Laws Concerning Artificial Insemination Explained

Legal concerns regarding artificial insemination are numerous. In most states, a child born using the husband’s sperm in artificial insemination is said to be the legal child of the husband.

The ‘presumption’ law in most states presumes that a married woman giving birth to a child is the child of the husband as well. That designation, naming the father being the husband is where the laws concerning artificial insemination are derived.

The law is not as clear when a baby born using artificial insemination from the sperm of a third party donor. Some states the baby is presumed to be the legal baby of the mother and her husband. However, other states are not as cut and dry about the paternity, leaving the possibility open of the illegitimacy of the baby.

In Vitro Fertilization Explained

IVF and egg transplantation is the process of fertilizing the egg outside the womb. This procedure is still relatively new and many questions have been raised as to the rights of the parties involved and resolutions available to them if errors occur as a result of the procedure.

What does the Law Say Concerning In Vitro Fertilization?

Generally, when another woman donates the egg, in the eyes of the law the birth mother will be considered the legitimate mother of the child. Different aspects of the law are considered for same sex couples concerning parental rights of a child born due to IVF.

Issues that could arise when in vitro fertilization is involved include:

  • Liability for the eggs
  • Issues concerning custody of the egg
  • Rights of inheritance of the egg
  • Safekeeping of the egg
  • Who is the parent when the donor replants the fertilized egg
  • Issues concerning parentage when the sperm used is from the donor
  • Parentage issues the a woman other than the donor receives the fertilized egg
  • Issues when a donor’s egg is used for fertilization

Because these laws are constantly evolving, contacting an experienced family lawyer Rockville, MD offers to find out what laws are relevant in your state and keep you protected during this very emotional and complicated procedure.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and legal issues with artificial insemination.