Assisted Reproduction Opportunities and Legal Rights in Washington

For women across the globe, bearing and raising children is a wonderful opportunity that they hope to experience some day. Unfortunately, not all women are able to achieve this due to medical concerns. Through modern science, many women and couples are able conceive or raise a child through assisted reproduction. With over 1% of live births in Washington state occurring with the help of assisted reproduction methods, it is easy to see that technology is helping many parents to expand their families. The applied methods vary depending on the situation, but in any scenario it is important to establish and understand the rights of all parties concerned.

Contracts are an essential part in any assisted reproduction situation, to establish guidelines such as visitation concerns, legal rights, and other matters. The arrangement in question is very personal to all parties involved, and the agreement can be customized to fit every individual scenario. Contracts will help ensure that paperwork such as birth certificates are issued properly to avoid any conflicts that could cause problems through a child’s life. An adoption attorney can be extremely helpful in assuring that all issues are fully addressed and both parties are happy with the arrangements.

Women can artificially conceive through a number of scenarios. Donated sperm may be used to impregnate a woman. Washington law outlines that in these scenarios the donor would have no legal rights to the resulting child, in addition to no legal or financial responsibility.

Women can also help other women conceive through gamete donation. This process involves medically stimulating ovum production and retrieving the ovum through a minimally invasive surgery. The resulting ova are then used to create an embryo that will be implanted into another woman’s uterus to develop. This process is able to help women who are unable to produce ovum properly or women who are unable to safely house a fetus in their own uterus.

Even in the most seemingly straight-forward situations, contracts are imperative in establishing the rights of any donors, recipients, or other participants. Parenthood can excite surprising and personal feelings, and any parties changing their minds can cause a massive legal conflict if the agreement is not written down.

According to the Uniform Parentage Act, as defined in the Revised Code of Washington Section 26, if a woman gives birth through assisted reproduction her spouse is usually recognized as a legal parent of the child. To secure this role, however, it is sometimes advisable to legally adopt the child. For instance, for same-sex couples, if the mother’s partner or spouse adopts the child it will greatly increase the chances of maintaining legal rights in all states.

Science has provided wonderful opportunities for aspiring parents across Washington, but it is important to take the legal steps necessary to ensure that the process is completed with no complications.