Artificial insemination is a process by which a doctor takes sperm from a donor, such as the husband or from a sperm bank, and artificially inseminates eggs within the mother with them. Another process, called in vitro fertilization, involves the doctor taking the eggs from the mother and fertilizing them outside of the womb. Parents may use donor eggs or sperm for this process. The doctor then places the eggs back inside the mother. These are methods by which parents may overcome infertility issues.
Most states presume that a child born using artificial insemination through the use of the husband's sperm is the child of the husband. Some other states also presume that a child born to a married couple is the child of both parents, including the husband. This presumption stands regardless of the source of the donor sperm.
Regarding in vitro fertilization, generally speaking, the law will presume that the birth mother is the legitimate mother of the child, regardless of whether or not the egg was donated or not. However, this does not mean that the legal issues end with the birth mother. There are issues regarding:
- Custody or inheritance over the eggs should the parents separate during the in vitro process.
- Liability and safekeeping issues over the status of the eggs.
- Parentage issues, including surrogacy and donor matters.
The law is still in flux regarding this process, and it is common for bordering states to have vastly different approaches. If you or a loved one has any questions regarding the custodial status of your child, then you may want to speak to an attorney. These new methods of starting a family can be challenging, and the law surrounding them is occasionally murky. However, that does not mean that you can't find the answers you seek.