Is the egg donor regarded as a legal parent?

Under the Status of Children Act 1996 (NSW), an egg donor is not considered to be the parent of a child. The person who is the recipient of the egg (ovum) and who carries the pregnancy and gives birth to the child will be presumed to be the parent of the child whether they are married, single, or in a de facto relationship.

Should there be a written agreement between the donor and recipient/s?

Registered fertility clinics through which egg donations are processed will require the donor and recipient/s to sign documentation confirming their agreement. The forms provided by the clinic do not extend to any arrangements beyond an agreement to donate and receive eggs and to create embryos. If the parties want a more complex arrangement, such as one where the donor participates in the child's life, a non-enforceable written agreement may be appropriate. For more information, please read the sections above;

  • Section 5: Sperm Donors -
    • What is the legal status of a written agreement between a donor and the birth parent and a co-parent?' and
    • Can the donor charge a fee for supplying semen?',

which also apply to egg donors.

If you are considering drafting a written agreement, you can contact the Inner City Legal Centre by telephone on 02 9332 1966 to make a face-to-face or telephone appointment to speak with a lawyer. Please note that the Inner City Legal Centre will only be able to advise one party to a proposed agreement.

Case examples:

Patrick and Liam have been in a de facto relationship for 5 years. They have decided they want to raise a family. They agree to use a donor egg and Liam's sperm.

Sean, a transgender man, had his eggs harvested before commencing/completing his transition. Sean and Felicity, his de facto cisgender female partner, decided to have a child together using Sean's eggs and an unknown sperm donor. Felicity carried the pregnancy and gave birth to their child.

Sally and Bridget are two lesbians in a de facto relationship and they have decided to start having a family. They have decided that Sally will have her eggs harvested, they will use an unknown sperm donor, and Bridget will carry the pregnancy and will give birth to their child.