Co-parenting and sperm donation laws are extremely complex and vary worldwide. The laws are constantly evolving to meet the ever-increasing variety of family structures. 

Before the experience of creating a family through co-parting, a sperm donor, or donating sperm yourself, we suggest that you research the existing relating laws in your country of residence. 

The laws concerning to the rights and responsibilities of the biological parents are different depending on the situation you choose to conceive with, so be sure that the laws are suitable for what you desire.

1. In many countries, a sperm donor that donates at a fertility clinic will have no legal rights and responsibilities as a parent. 

This means that even if the child wants to know their biological father, more often than not using this method will completely conceal the identity from them. Some countries, such as England, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Norway and Finland, the child can learn the identity of the donor when they turn 18. 

Legislation in Spain and Denmark is the most progressive in Europe, compared to most restrictive countries such as Italy, where gamete donation is prohibited. Meanwhile, in France, single women and lesbians cannot receive donor sperm. However, in America the recipient woman can learn what subject the sperm donor studied, their grades, hear his voice and see a current photo, or, (commonly asked by Jewish women) know if the donor has ancestors of the same faith to them. 

Donors, in turn, may choose to be anonymous or allow their identity to be revealed when the child is of age. Single Mothers by Choice is an organisation which has released a record of donors (using their donor code) for mothers of children all born from one man to contact. This allows some mothers to organise meetings for their children in order to get to know their biological half-siblings.

2. If the recipient woman of the sperm donation decides upon a home insemination, the decision relating to the custody of the child will be based on individual circumstances. The women will choose who is to appear on the birth certificate as the father; the sperm donor or a partner (if applicable). 3. If it is a couple (homosexual or heterosexual) who chooses home insemination, there is also a possibility that the sperm donor can get some custody of the child. However, in most of these cases, if the recipient woman is married, automatically the spouse will beconsidered as the father / mother. 

If there is no legal relationship between the couple, the recipient woman can choose who they wish to disclose in the birth certificate as the second parent.

3. If the sperm donor is listed as the father on the birth certificate and accepts the birth certificate, they will assume both parental and financial responsibility, which includes the child’s right to an inheritance from the donor in the event of their death.  

4. Due to these factors, having a written agreement between the donor and the recipient is extremely useful in the event that any disputes arise. However, the legal effect of the written agreement will depend upon its contents and your individual circumstances. 

It must be written using expert advice (namely a lawyer) and should clearly reflect your parenting goals; whether that be to exclude liability of the donor, or establish a relationship of co-parenting. In the event that the agreement establishes co-parenting aims, you should note down things like; the number of times the child will see the secondary parent, how long the child will spend with each parent during holidays, their religious views, any values you wish to impart, their country of residence, and any other aspect that is relevant to your situation as parents.

We have listed below a series of links that show the legality of the situations of new families around the world: 

Laws sperm donors per country: 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The information provided here is an example only, and last revised in July 2014. Individual circumstances may vary. We strongly advise that you seek legal advice from a family lawyer regarding your specific situation.

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