An increasing number of couples are conceiving children through the use of a sperm donor. In many situations, that sperm donor may be known to the couple. It is important to think through the consequences of this type of arrangement. A situation will be different where there is a known donor from when there is an unknown donor.
If the couple are married or in a civil partnership at the time when the baby is born, they will be the child’s legal parents. The sperm donor will not be a legal parent of the child. He will not have parental responsibility. He will have no obligation to pay child maintenance.
If the couple are not married or in a civil partnership, or if the mother is single, then the birth mother will be the only person who has parental responsibility for the child. The sperm donor will not have parental responsibility, unless he is named on the child’s birth certificate but he will be liable for child maintenance.
Where the donor is known to the couple, he may have some involvement in the child’s life. It is important to think through from the outset what that relationship will be and what will be said to the child. Sadly, relationships and friendships can fail and there can be upsetting consequences for all parties if details have not been worked out during happier times.
We would recommend that anyone thinking about using a known sperm donor considers entering into a Sperm Donor Agreement. The above information only sets out general principles and it is extremely important that anyone considering this type of arrangement takes individual legal advice tailored to their situation.
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