By Louisa Ghevaert, partner at Gamble and Ghevaert LLP
If you are thinking about or undergoing fertility treatment or assisted reproduction you will no doubt spend time and energy thinking about a range of factors including success rates, clinics, cost, treatment options, egg and sperm donation, timescales and process. However, will you stop and think about the importance of specialist fertility law advice? You wouldn’t buy a house, get divorced or make a Will without first obtaining legal advice. So why take any unnecessary risks when you are building your much wanted family?
Fertility treatment and assisted reproduction is often time consuming, stressful, expensive and emotionally draining. Why potentially make matters worse by failing to get to grips with the legal issues? Fertility law often overrides biology and this can create the wrong legal outcome for the unwitting, particularly as many people have complicated personal lives and family arrangements.
If you need third party assistance to conceive are you confident that the law will recognise you as a legal parent? Are you sure you can be named as parent on your child’s birth certificate? Will you be able to exercise parental responsibility and for example consent to medical treatment and vaccinations for your baby? Are you sure about the legal status your partner, spouse, surrogate or donor will have for your child?
If you adopt a laissez-faire approach or lull yourself into a false sense of security that the legal side of things will be alright you could be doing yourself and your family a huge disservice. Once you have conceived it’s often too late to avoid some of the legal pitfalls and you may then need complicated legal solutions further down the line.
If you take early specialist fertility law advice before you conceive and you tackle the legal issues as they apply to your particular circumstances you may save yourself a lot of heartache. A well drafted donor agreement if you’re involving a known donor or a clear understanding of surrogacy law if you plan to conceive through surrogacy or a specialist Will could save you time, money and worry.
Don’t leave the legal side of things to chance. Fertility law isn’t always well designed for modern twenty first century living. Invest in specialist fertility law advice at the start and take control of your family’s future.
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