Ovum-Sharing / Shared Pregnancy

Woman holding ultrasound picture of her baby

The attorneys at NicholsonPham have been successful in being the first to petition the court to legally recognize both same-sex, married parents as legal parents in an ovum sharing case. For lesbian couples enlarging their family in North Carolina, this new legal precedent is a positive movement forward in equality.

Couples now have the ability to enlarge a family through ovum sharing due to advances in modern medicine. Ovum sharing or a shared pregnancy is when one spouse carries the other spouse's eggs to conceive a child. While the laws in North Carolina have made substantial progress toward marriage equity for the LGBT community, they have not yet caught up with all the medical advancements available. Like other forms of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), ovum sharing can result in significant legal issues due to the lack of comprehensive laws surrounding it. Therefore, it is important to have the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney to guide you through the process of ovum sharing.

While North Carolina vital records will list two mothers as parents on a child’s birth certificate, it is important to understand that this alone does not provide the non-biological parent with full legal parental rights. It does allow for the couple to do practical everyday things, but the biological parent would still be presumed to be the legal parent. In order to overcome this presumption, we have recommended step-parent adoption for couples expanding their family through ovum sharing to ensure that both parents are legally recognized. In North Carolina second-parent adoptions are no longer legal, leaving step-parent adoption as the best avenue available to lesbian couples to secure their legal rights for their child[ren]. However, that recommendation is now changing.

After couples endure what is often a very hard and long, drawn-out process of ovum sharing, the last thing they want to do is go through the intrusive process of adopting a child they created together. The attorneys at NicholsonPham have been successful in petitioning the court to legally recognize both same-sex, married parents as legal parents when they have utilized the process of ovum sharing to enlarge a family.

“Petitioning the court for parentage is more appropriate in ovum sharing cases than having a lesbian couple go through the tedious process of a step-parent adoption,” says Milan Pham. In order to qualify for step-parent adoption, it is necessary to be married and live together for at least 6 months. In addition, you must submit various key documents, such as donor agreements, parental waivers, and consents, submit to background checks, and in some cases, a court report from a social worker.

Regardless of what type of assisted reproductive technology is utilized, it is critical that you have knowledgeable legal representation who understands the legal hurdles and challenges surrounding ART issues. All types of ART procedures, including ovum sharing, will require various forms and agreements to ensure that both parties’ rights are protected and both spouses are considered legal parents.

If you are in the process of expanding your family through any form of assisted reproductive technology, the attorneys at NicholsonPham are leaders in this field. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through the complexities of ART Law throughout North Carolina. Our attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that our clients are fully aware of the options and procedures involved to make informed decisions. Contact us for a consultation at (919) 883-4900 to learn more about ovum-sharing pregnancy.

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