My partner and I aren't married. How does this affect our fertility preservation options?
When it comes to fertility preservation, every person—married, unmarried, homosexual, and heterosexual—has the same rights and opportunities. However, rights vary by state once embryos have been created or a child is born.
Generally, with the exception of women who use donor sperm, frozen embryos are legally “co-owned” by the two individuals involved in their production. If that couple were to separate, a legal proceeding may be necessary to decide the future use of the embryos. By comparison, freezing eggs avoids similar legal entanglements, as they are considered the sole possession of the woman.
In the case of lesbian couples, the woman whose eggs are preserved is considered the “owner” of those eggs and subsequently, the custodian of any children conceived using those eggs. Whether her partner can be named as the second adoptive parent on the birth certificate varies from state to state.
It’s important that couples be aware of the state laws that apply to them. If you and your partner decide to freeze eggs or embryos, it is recommended that you seek legal counseling to discuss these issues. Click the links to your right to learn more about the rights of unmarried couples.