Both the donor and receiver of eggs (and similarly sperm and embryos), wonder whether the genetic material can be “taken back” from the person/people who donated it. In light of the fact that eggs, sperm and embryo can be frozen and stored for years, life situations can change from the time of the donation where someone may want certain genetic material returned back to them. It’s possible a young woman donates her eggs before she has her own children, later learns of her inability to have her own children, and one may wonder, can she get her donated eggs back?
Florida Laws on Egg, Sperm, and Embryo Donation and Whether A Donor Can Get the Genetic Material Back?
The donation of eggs, sperm, and embryos is governed by state law so the answer on whether genetic material can be “taken back”, does depend on the applicable laws.
Florida egg donation laws, Florida sperm donation laws, and Florida embryo donation laws are very clear that one the donation occurs, the person donating the genetic material relinquishes all rights, now and until forever, to the donated genetic material. In short, the donor cannot take back what was donated. Regardless of the reason in the future as to why a donor may want the genetic material back (i.e. infertility, death of a spouse, divorce of a couple), once a properly documented and legally valid donation occurs, the laws are clear to ensure that upon the retrieval of the eggs/sperm or the turnover of the embryos to the recipient(s), that donation is final.
Florida law also protects intended parents from a donor ever asserting parental rights to a child born from the donated genetic material as all parental rights of a donor are deemed terminated upon the completion of the donation.
Can a Recipient of Donated Genetic Material Try and Return Genetic Material or a Child to the Donor?
In the same way that intended parents are protected that a donor cannot try and “take back” the donated genetic material, an intended parent who receives donated eggs, sperm or embryos cannot try and “return” the genetic material back to the one who donated it. Also, the intended parents are also precluded from ever trying to assert parental rights or responsibilities against a donor as all parental rights of a donor are terminated upon the completion of the properly documented and legally valid donation.
Contract Provisions Regarding Disposition or Return of Genetic Material
As stated above Florida egg donation laws, Florida sperm donation laws, and Florida embryo donation laws all provide that upon the donation of the genetic material, all rights of the donor are terminated and are vested in the intended parent/recipient. What this means is that an intended parent has all rights relating to the use of the eggs, sperm, or embryos such as, for example, using them for procreation, freezing unused genetic material, donating them to a third party for conception or for testing. That all being said, within the parties donation contract, certain restrictions can be placed on the use of the eggs, sperm, embryos such as prohibiting the intended parents from donating the genetic material to third parties for procreation and only allowing the use for their conception purposes. Some parties also restrict the ability to donate genetic material for scientific research purposes.
Although rare, contract provisions can also be addressed as to the reversion of the donated genetic material once the intended parents/recipients are complete in building their family.
In consideration of everything in this article, an important take away is that it is important to consider the applicable state laws of where the donation is occurring to ensure that the rights to the genetic material are property terminated in the donor and vested in the intended parent/recipient. Also, if the parties want certain restrictions on the donation, then it is important to have that discussion with the Florida reproductive attorney to ensure that it is set out in the contract and enforceable.