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Does Being a Sperm Donor Mean That You Are a Dad?

Many prospective parents and couples are turning to sperm donors for assistance in conception. Whether issues of fertility exist or parents have specific goals, there are numerous reasons as to why choosing a sperm donor can be the right choice. However, questions of paternity can often arise. If you donate sperm, does that mean you are a father? In a strictly biological sense, yes, you will have fathered a child. Legally, however, the answer to this question can be tricky and depends largely on the type of donor that was involved. In North Carolina, if a known donor does not take steps to relinquish all paternal rights, they may be legally responsible for children.

Types of donors include:

  • Anonymous Donors: Individuals who donate sperm through a facility such as a sperm bank or clinic will not have their identities revealed. Anonymous donors will not typically possess any paternal rights or responsibilities for children.
  • Discoverable donors: A sperm donor can also elect to have his identity revealed to a child should they wish to meet. This option is typically not available until the child reaches a specific age and as such, issues of paternity usually do not come into play. However, every case will be unique and each clinic will have its own rules.
  • Known donors: when a parent chooses someone they know as a donor, legal complications can arise. When donors and recipients work with a bank or a fertility clinic, the process generally involves steps which ensure that issues of paternity are resolved beforehand. However, if these processes are not completed or are done incorrectly, it can lead to issues down the road.

When couples and parents are unaware of the legal steps associated with resolving issues of paternal rights, they may often rely on verbal or implied agreements. If no legal actions have been taken and a dispute arises, issues of paternity may be left to a judge. Those who are looking to pursue sperm donation with a known donor should consult with a knowledgeable attorney to help ensure that their family goals are met and their interests are protected.

Compassionate Family Law Attorney

Decisions regarding family planning are among the most important you can make and require careful deliberation. If you are considering beginning or expanding your family through the services of a sperm donor, consulting with our Raleigh family law attorney can make the vital difference in preparing for issues of paternity. Our attorneys possess more than three decades of combined experience helping families to plan for the future and if you have questions about how this situation may affect the legal status of your family, do not hesitate to contact Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC today.

Call (919) 876-3300 and discuss your options with our firm in a free consultation.

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