Egg donation is a great way for couples to give birth to a child when they have had trouble conceiving or are unable to on their own. Nearly all women who donate eggs do so in a spirit of kindness and giving, but some have second thoughts and suddenly demand custody of the child. This nightmare scenario is hard for all sides, but it is one that can be resolved.
Contracts Should Protect Your Rights
While it's understandable that an egg donor would want to see a child she likely considers her own, this can really complicate your life and the life of the child if she starts demanding some form of custody. That's why it's important to write an egg donor contract with her -- one that is drafted by your lawyer and which spells out exactly what is entailed by the donation.
In such a contract, the woman donating the egg must agree that she is giving up all parental rights to the child and is giving you full rights as a mother. While it's possible to receive donated eggs without a contract, it is worth the legal hassle of making a contract in order to avoid problems down the road.
Egg Donor Parental Rights Vary By State
Contracts should help protect your rights as the legal mother to the child, but laws and custody-granting tendencies vary on a state-by-state level. For example, Ohio is very friendly to egg donors and has repeatedly allowed them to fight for and even win custody of a child for whom they wrote a valid contract waiving all parental rights.
Interestingly, California is nearly the exact opposite, with the courts removing all rights from an egg donor as a parent when signing a legally-binding contract. Depending on your state and the demands of the egg donor, it may be possible to grant her some kind of visitation rights in order to satisfy her needs to know the child born from her egg.
If your state is friendly to your case or has already granted you full parental rights, try reaching out to the egg donor and setting up some form of visitation with her. Let her know that you understand what she is going through and that you are willing to allow her contact with her child. Sit down with your lawyers and draft a visitation contract that grants her the ability to visit.
The benefits are two-folded. On one hand, they will help alleviate her suffering and help her connect with a child she helped create. It also helps your child better understand themselves later in life, as adopted children are often psychologically driven to find their biological parents.
By following these steps, you can help avoid a nasty legal situation and retain custody of your child. You can also help the egg donor feel more connected with her child, avoiding the kind of torment that often results from not knowing their child. For more info, speak to an egg donation expert in your area.