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Alternative Reproduction and Parental Rights

On March 6, 2012, the Supreme Judicial Court held that a father who consents to in vitro fertilization is the legal father of the children born of this artificial insemination, even if the parties agreed that he would take no responsibility for the needs of said children (Chukwudera B. Okoli vs. Blessing N. Okoli).

On March 6, 2012, the Supreme Judicial Court held that a father who consents to in vitro fertilization is the legal father of the children born of this artificial insemination, even if the parties agreed that he would take no responsibility for the needs of said children (Chukwudera B. Okoli vs. Blessing N. Okoli).

This holding comes on the tail of recent case law, Della Corte v. Ramirez, which held that children born of a same-sex couple become "children of the marriage" and the parties (whether biological parents or not) are legally responsible for them. In other words, both cases hold that if children are born in a marriage through alternative reproduction methods, but the parties consent to same, then both parties become legally responsible for the children. Even if the non-biological parent never adopts the children, or if the parties reach an agreement amongst themselves that one party will bear no financial or legal responsibility for the children, both parents are still considered the children's legal parents. The intent of the parties to become parents is irrelevant, just like it would be if two people engaged in sexual intercourse that resulted in a pregnancy.

IN SUM:
If you're married, don't consent to conception unless you are ready to be held legally responsible for the resulting offspring.

(c) 2014 by Law Office of Leila J. Wons. The information contained herein is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship and does not constitute legal advice. In accordance with rules established by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this blog must be labeled "advertising." 

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