DONOR CONCEPTION & CO-PARENTING
YOUR EVERYS EXPERTS
- Acquiring Parental Rights and Parental Responsibility
- Pre-conception Agreements/Known Donor Agreements
- Planning for donor conception
- Co-Parenting Agreements
- Donor disputes and litigation
For parents who wish to co-parent, we can offer a Co-Parenting agreement setting out the expectations and obligations for each parent involved. For any extended family arrangement, the use of such an agreement can provide some form of harmonisation of the roles between parties.
We can also advise on parental responsibility; how this can operate in and outside of marriage/civil partnership, and how to acquire it.
For those wishing to build a family through the use of a donor, we provide advice on the operation of a Donor Agreement and its preparation; setting out the legal position of the parties involved. This can prevent future disputes on contact issues and parental rights.
A donor can be anonymous or known. With an anonymous donor, the majority of intended parents choose to select a fertility clinic, whether that is in the UK or abroad. A donor provided from a clinic will not be regarded as the legal parent of any created child from that donation or have any claim to parental rights at a later stage.
If you are a same sex couple or heterosexual couple looking to use a clinic for a donor, then you will need to ensure that certain steps are taken prior to conception to achieve parental status for both of you. The alternative to this is the post-birth adoption process.
If the donor is known by both intended parents, and you are considering conceiving with an egg or sperm donor, then we can prepare a Known Donor Agreement. It has become more common for intended parents to select their donor. How involved the known donor is with the child following birth is also a crucial factor for consideration for the prospective parents. Some intended parents do not wish for their known donor to have any involvement in their child’s life, and the use of such an Agreement can ensure that those roles are clearly set out prior to conception.
The agreement can also work perfectly well for a known donor and the intended parents to be equally involved in the child’s life and their future. It is there to assist parties where they feel it would be appropriate, and to ensure that a child is brought into the world with the stability of family life.
We can also offer representation in litigation if those agreements break down and where court proceedings become necessary.
Children Act applications have changed over the years with the introduction of the Child Arrangements Programme and the premise that contact with the other parent will be of a ‘benefit to the child concerned’. The courts will look to what the parties intended at the outset and what would be in the child’s best interests in the long-term. To assist the court, the parties are often required to prepare statements and we will offer advice on the preparation of those statements.
In addition to this, a Cafcass Officer will be assigned to a Children Act case, and act as ‘the ears and eyes of the court’ to ensure that the court has all the facts in front of them and are best placed to make an order which would be in the child’s best interests. The court will have at the forefront of their mind the ‘welfare of the child’.