Do Sperm Donors Have Parental Rights?

For many years, the process of artificial insemination was seen as the exclusive province of married heterosexual couples who were not able to have a child on their own. As societal norms shift and more people are able to explore their options as potential parents, single women and lesbian couples increasingly turn to artificial insemination.

It may seem logical that the recipients of donated sperm would enjoy all the rights afforded to biological parents, but sometimes a sperm donor attempts to become the legal father of a child born from his sperm through artificial insemination. However, the law is clear about a sperm donor’s rights. The Illinois Parentage Act states that a sperm donor is not to be considered the natural father of a child artificially conceived with his sperm.

What can complicate the situation is when a sperm donor actually knows the person or people to whom he donated his sperm. It’s common for prospective parents to feel more comfortable knowing the background of a sperm donor for genetic, environmental and cultural reasons, so they may turn to a close friend. Although this may result in emotional complications for all parties involved, the law is clear in its refusal to grant parental rights to the donor.

If a known donor is being used, the prospective parents should familiarize themselves with state law. They might even consider drafting a written contract to establish the rights and responsibilities of the donor.

A family law attorney can provide more information about the legal precautions you should take if you’re considering artificial insemination. Additionally, potential sperm donors are encouraged to seek legal guidance if they have any questions about their rights. Contact a Chicago lawyer to get started.

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