Let's say Alice wants a child, but doesn't want to get married. Can she legally place an ad to hire someone ("Bob") with desired attributes (e.g. no genetic diseases, IQ of 180, whatever Alice wants) to conceive a child with her?

My intuitive guess is yes she can - if it's a crime it's victimless after all - but I'm not sure since it might also qualify as soliciting prostitution.

This question is meant to be gender neutral. I used "Alice" simply because it begins with A which is the first letter of the alphabet.

Related but not the same: Does the lecherous millionaire violate any laws?

  • Too broad without specifying jurisdiction. I understand that the default one should be assumed, but, once again, let's pretend there is no default jurisdiction on this site. – Greendrake Dec 8 at 7:48
  • Interesting choice of tags. Conception doesn't necessarily imply sexual activity. – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Dec 8 at 10:33
  • @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere if you have suggestions for better tags, feel free to edit the question. – Allure Dec 8 at 11:02
  • @Allure - Those tags might work if the question specified sexual activity - if not, donorship and surrogacy are (of themselves) legal in a lot of jurisdictions. I'm not certain enough which way you're going to try an edit. – ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere Dec 8 at 11:16
  • S described, this isn't even arguably rape, even if sexual activity is assumed, so i have removed that tag – David Siegel Dec 8 at 16:14
up vote 2 down vote accepted

In many but not all jurisdictions, hiring someone to have sex is illegal.

However, Alice might want (or settle for) a sperm donation. That is legal in many jurisdictions. In fact I don't know of anywhere that it is illegal, although there might be such a place.

When this is done via an organization such as a fertility center, there is often a contract. The provisions of such a contract vary, but one common provision is that the sperm donor will not be liable for child support. Not all jurisdictions will accept such a contract, as shown in this CNN story. In that case a court later ruled that no support was due according to this BBC story

Some US states have laws governing and regulating such situations. But none of them that I have found make it a crime.

Edit: To rephrase is somewhat more gender-neutral terms:

Paying someone to have sex with the intent that a child results woulds be solicitation of prostitution. and would be illegal in any jurisdiction where such solicitation is illegal -- the law would not recognize any difference. Moreover, if the party who is paying and wishes to wind up with the child is male, in some jurisdictions there are also laws against paying to obtain custody of a child. Such laws are aimed at 'baby-selling" but might be invoked in such a case.

If the plan is to pay someone for a gamete donation, and/or for surrogate parent services, that would not be prostitution, and is legal in many jurisdictions. But there may be unexpected issues of parental rights and obligations. A written contract would be a good idea, and the local law should be checked to see how it handles such arrangements. Depending on the details, medical assistance may be required. A doctor will probably insist on a written contract, and may have knowledge about agreements that have previously worked, or not worked, in the local jurisdiction.

  • What if genders are reversed? I actually intended the question to be gender-neutral. – Allure Dec 8 at 19:19
  • @Allure Much the same legalities apply, but the differing biology makes some changes. An Egg donation, unlike a sperm donation, requires skilled medical assistance. If the intent is that the egg donor is to become pregnant. then her involvement is much more extensive then a sperm donor's need be. In any such case, a written contract is advisable, and state law may regulate the situation. – David Siegel Dec 8 at 19:28
  • @Allure If you wanted to make the question gender-neutral, then using the name "Alice" for one participant, and the pronoun "she" to refer to "Alice" was a poor choice. That naturally led to gender assumptions. In any case human biology is not symmetric nor gender-neutral in reproduction. – David Siegel Dec 8 at 19:32
  • Could Alice hire a sperm donation wherein Bob may choose the method of donation? – Arcanist Lupus Dec 8 at 20:50
  • @Arcanist Lupus: if the result of such an arrangement is that someone is paying for sex, there will be legal problems in many jurisdictions. – David Siegel Dec 8 at 21:03

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