If you’re signing on with Circle as intended parents (IPs) to find a surrogate egg donor or are about to start a donation as an egg donor, you’ve probably heard references to the donor agreement. This document is put in place to protect all parties involved in the egg donation arrangement, state the intended parents’ and donor’s intentions and legal obligations, and dissolve the donor’s custody over the baby born through the process.
To help familiarize you with the egg donor contract, we review nine of the most notable provisions found in the contract. Keep in mind, this is not an all-inclusive list, and every egg donation journey contract varies depending on the circumstances.
- Control of the Eggs and/or Embryos
In the egg donor agreement, the parties agree that intended parents have control of all eggs retrieved from the donor, as well as any resulting embryos. The parties will mutually agree that what may happen with any resulting eggs and embryos, which could include IVF to reproduce children of their own, donation to a third-party, or medical research.
- Timeline for Retrieval
The egg donor agreement outlines a reasonable timeline for the egg retrieval. If there are any dates where the IPs or donor are unavailable for the cycle, it should be listed in the agreement. This ensures that all parties are on the same page. You may also want to consider addressing whether there are expected cycle dates, deadlines for the egg retrieval, or provisions for a second cycle.
- Complications Insurance
IPs are responsible for purchasing medical insurance to cover the egg donor for any complications that may arise from the cycle medications and retrieval, such as ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. The IVF clinic puts the policy in place for the donor when she begins injectable medications for the cycle. Coverage extends for up to four months from the medication start date.
Intended parents are responsible for covering their egg donor’s travel expenses. The donor needs to travel to the intended parents’ IVF clinic twice: once for the medical screening and once for the egg retrieval. Intended parents are responsible for covering the donor’s travel expenses (including one travel companion) during these two trips. If the donor is local to the intended parents’ IVF clinic, she attends monitoring appointments there. If she is not local to the IPs’ clinic, she monitors at a clinic local to where she lives. The donor is not entitled to companion travel for monitoring appointments, and this is reflected in the contract.
- Reimbursement of Expenses
The egg donor receives a fee for completing the retrieval. This fee is clearly stated in the egg donor agreement. The fee is considered compensation for the donor’s time, effort, commitment, and sacrifice (not for her genetic material or her relinquishment of parental rights). The donor’s fee is held in escrow until after the procedure, and she can receive her funds within 10 business days after the egg retrieval. The donor’s fee is inclusive of any lost wages, but all travel costs for the medical screening, monitoring appointments, and the egg retrieval are reimbursed to the donor separately. All reimbursements requests by the donor must be accompanied with supporting documentation in order for the donor to receive reimbursements.
- Canceled Cycle
The egg donor agreement provides the donor with a fee for a canceled cycle. The amount for a canceled cycle varies and typically depends on how long the donor has been on injectable medications for the cycle. The cycle may be canceled by the IPs, the donor, or the IVF physician if the donor’s body is not responding to the medications.
The contract contains a confidentiality clause. The IPs and egg donor can discuss their own involvement in egg donation, but they will not be allowed to disclose the name, location, or any identifying information about the other party unless the IPs and donor otherwise agree.
- Future Contact
The agreement addresses future contact between the IPs and egg donor, which depends largely on whether it’s a known donation, semi-known donation, ID release donation or anonymous donation. The IPs and donor mutually decide what level of contact (if any) is appropriate for their circumstances. The egg donor agreement also includes a clause requiring the egg donor to provide updated medical information if her health history changes. The IPs are also obligated to inform the donor if the child develops a medical condition that could be genetically linked to the donor. Additionally, the donor is also required to keep Circle informed of any changes to her name, physical address, email address, and phone number.
- Results of the Donation
In the egg donor agreement, the IPs agree to disclose any pregnancies and live births to the donor, should the donor inquire about this. In an anonymous donation, this information is not always disclosed, but the IPs and donor can decide together what they are comfortable with, and then the agreement can be edited accordingly. Some IPs and donors are concerned about consanguinity (the possibility of the egg donor’s own child one-day meeting and partnering with the donor-conceived child). To help avoid this, it is possible to include a mechanism for the IPs, donor, and donor-conceived child(ren) to contact in the future if they so choose. The Donor Sibling Registry is a common way of leaving this option open for mutual consent contact while preserving anonymity.
If you’re interested in learning more about the process as an intended parent, click here.
To learn about the process of becoming an egg donor, click here.