Illinois Parentage Act Overview

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Presumption of Parentage

The Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 (750 ILCS 46) is the law that details the parent-child relationship in Illinois. The purpose of the law, generally, is to give children the opportunity to have their physical, mental, emotional, and financial needs met by each of their parents.

In order to do this, the Illinois Parentage Act is the law that establishes the definition of what makes someone a parent under Illinois law. There are different circumstances that create a presumption of parentage. For example, the following is a non-exhaustive list of people are ordinarily presumed to be parents under Illinois Law:

  • The person giving birth;
  • A person voluntarily acknowledging paternity;
  • A person with a valid gestational surrogacy agreement that complies with the Gestational Surrogacy Act; and
  • A person married to the person giving birth.

It is important for people considering building a family through Assisted Reproduction to understand the related requirements of the Illinois Parentage Act. The Act has a process to follow to bring a court case asking a court to declare the non-existence of a parent-child relationship. However, the person challenging the presumption of parentage must file the case within 2 years of their actual knowledge of the facts surrounding the child’s parentage and they must show that they are not a parent through clear and convincing evidence.

Implications for Sperm Donation

There is a carve-out in the Illinois Parentage Act that applies to parentage of children born through Assisted Reproduction which is defined to include artificial insemination, embryo transfer, and embryo or gamete donation. The definition excludes pregnancy achieved through sexual intercourse. 750 ILCS 46/103(d). If you intend for someone to be a donor and not a parent, you cannot have sex with them!

Donor is also defined in the statute as someone who provides gametes in an Assisted Reproduction arrangement, but relinquishes rights and responsibilities so that another person(s) may parent any resulting child. 750 ILCS 46/103(i). Donors are not parents of resulting children, so long as the donor and the intended parents comply with the requirements of Article 7 of the Illinois Parentage Act.

Donor Agreement Requirements

The Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 requires donor agreements to be (1) in writing, (2) with the assistance of counsel for both the intended parent(s) and the donor, and (3) entered into before conception. You read that right – donors and intended parents must have an attorney to draft/review a donor contract. 

If you think that it’s good enough to just have a verbal agreement with a donor and then do an at-home insemination without a written agreement or advice of counsel, think again. This type of informal arrangement creates significant uncertainty and risk to all involved. The ‘donor’ is risking that they may be adjudicated to be a parent and potentially be obligated to child support. The intended parent(s) are risking having to share custody and control of their child with their donor. This is not a risk worth taking.

Making Sperm Donor Agreements Affordable

Maybe you are just now learning that Illinois requires donors and intended parents have an attorney to draft the sperm donor agreement. If that’s the case, you may feel overwhelmed or be unsure about how to afford it. Hiring a lawyer can be expensive, but with Pineapple Law, PLLC, it doesn’t have to be.

We offer transparent pricing directly on our website so you’ll know what the cost is before you even give us a call. In addition, if you are experiencing significant financial hardship, Pineapple Law, PLLC has a sliding fee scale so that everyone who needs help can afford it. We also offer reduced rates for any member of the LGBTQ+ community. Learn more on our Services & Pricing page.

Questions? Contact Pineapple Law for a Free Initial Conversation.