The Legal Side of Embryo Adoption

On Thursday, March 20th, the Awareness Center hosted a session of “The Affordable and Accessible Adoption Choice” webinar. At the end of our presentation, the attendee’s asked some wonderful questions about embryo adoption. Below is an example:

Question: Is it necessary to have a court hearing to legalize the adoption, or is signing the transfer of property all that is needed to make it legal and finalized?

Answer: Just to be very clear and transparent on all levels, in the U.S. embryo adoption is not considered a legal form of adoption because embryos are considered property, not people. Therefore the process is governed by property contract law, not by adoption law. We are applying the best practices of adoption to the whole process, but adoption law does not apply.

When the donor and the adopter are matched, the next phase is the contract phase. During this phase both of the parties are signing legal contracts which transfer the ownership of property from the donor to the adoptive family. At that time the adoptive family is the legal owners of the embryos and the donor family has relinquished their parental rights and responsibilities as part of the contract.

This question of finalizing the adoption in court is really unnecessary because in the U.S. the law states the woman who gives birth to a baby is the legal mother and the man to whom she is married is the legal father. That is the legality of embryo adoption. Once you give birth to the baby, you are the baby’s legal parent and there isn’t a need to finalize in court. Although there are embryo adoption agencies around the country that do provide this service to their clients and they have judges in their area who are willing to listen to those adoption cases. In other cases like in CA, they won’t even listen to cases about embryo adoption in a court because they already recognize the adoptive parents are the child’s legal parents.

In the state of GA, legislation was passed in 2010 giving families who adopt frozen embryos the right to finalize their adoption in court if they want. It is a choice, not a requirement.

If you have a question about embryo adoption we can help to answer it. To ask, simply email us directly here at the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center.

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