Florida residents who have fertility problems have options for having children. Assisted reproductive technology can help. However, there are laws regarding the presumed status of children conceived through certain methods.
Criteria for parentage
Per Florida law, paternity is established when married couples use alternative means to conceive. If the child is born in wedlock after being conceived using artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF) or through donor sperm, donor eggs or pre-embryos, the intended parents are automatically considered the legal parents. The only exception to this rule is if gestational surrogacy is used.
Donor and surrogate rights
Sperm donors are prohibited from trying to establish paternity. Once a man decides to donate, he must sign a contract that states that he waives all rights to any children born from artificial insemination using his sperm. However, the same stands true even if the contract is voided.
If a woman chooses to become a gestational surrogate for intended parents, she, too, is required to sign a formal contract. Surrogates must be at least 18 years of age and carry a child for a legally married couple. Per the surrogacy contract, the gestational carrier acknowledges that she is not the legal parent and relinquishes the child to the intended parents after the birth.
The only way that a gestational carrier can assume parental rights is if the child ends up not being genetically related to either spouse of the couple that hired her to carry their baby to term.
However, in cases where one of the intended parents shares a genetic relationship with the child, paternity is clear. The couple must compensate the gestational carrier for her efforts unless they have a family member offer to do it for no pay.
Fertility assistance using one of these measures can help couples start the families they’ve always wanted.