Working on the first draft of our legal contract was both fun and thought-provoking. Fun because I’m a geek, and thought-provoking because you have to anticipate every possible future scenario of your kid’s life, health, and curiosity and then build an agreement that allows for every single bit of it.
You have to be careful when it comes to the legal stuff. What I learned is that you can always do more than what a contract states, but you can’t do less. This means that any requirements on either yourself or the donor should be the minimum that’s necessary; for example, does she really need to give you medical updates every 6 months? That’s quite a lot to ask, especially when everyone’s healthy.
Another feature of the contract is that you can’t require meetings. This one kind of bummed me out because if my kid wants to meet his Gen-Mom, then I want my kid to meet his Gen-Mom. The most you can ask is that she “consider” meeting with you. Kind of annoying, but what can you do?
Anyhow, a lot of thought went into writing the Future Contact portion of the agreement, and here’s what we’re proposing:
- An exchange of full names and contact information
- She agrees to consider meeting with us before her egg retrieval
- She agrees to consider meeting with the kid and at least one parent at a time deemed appropriate by the parents (not necessarily when the child reaches 18)
- She provides us with medical updates every 30 months, with serious health issues communicated within 3 months; this applies to her, her parents, her siblings, and her kids
- We give her the same courtesy with regard to the kid (in anticipation that the information would be relevant for her children)
- No direct communication with the kid; all correspondence goes through a parent
I should be clear that, like all attorneys, ours had a standard first draft that we just built on. Aside from all the future contact stuff, several other small changes were made, but there’s only one worth mentioning:
One of the standard stipulations in these contracts is that the parents have sole decision-making powers when determining the outcome of any leftover embryos after the parents have completed building their family. The main choices are:
- Donation to science
- Donation to another woman or couple for transfer
It’s this last option that bugged me. Being that I’m fairly opposed to anonymous donations, there’s no way I would give the donor’s genes to someone else without having her be involved in the decision, so I revised the contract to say that I would notify her before doing so. That way, if she’s opposed to it or doesn’t want to be involved in the selection of the recipient, we would choose another option. But to tell you the truth, it’s all pretty moot, since we’ll probably just end up donating to science anyhow.
The most ridiculous part of this entire thing is that none of it is unenforceable. I mean, if she doesn’t email me with a 30-month health update, what can I do? Sue her for emotional damages? Truth is that after the part of the agreement where I pay her, it’s all just a farce.
It took me a little while to realize this, and so I’m hoping our donor doesn’t catch on either. I won’t tell if you won’t.