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Let's say we have an individual called Aphrodite. She has an extremely high risk lifestyle and isn't expected to live much more than five years from now.

She goes to a specialized agency that screens individuals for eligibility to donate gametes. After going through the various procedures, she is deemed acceptable and thereafter donates her eggs.

Aphrodite wants to setup a last will that distributes her estate amongst all children that are of her genetic line once they obtain a certain age after she dies. How could this be done in conjunction with both estate planning and an egg-donating agency?


Important Considerations:

  1. The donator (Aphrodite) is not anonymous and her identify is disclosed to the recipients.
  2. The recipients sign an agreement to not use the gametes for third-party donation or medical research.
  3. Aphrodite will likely not be directly informed by the donation agency or recipients about who receives her eggs and if children are actually created with them.
  • What is different between this and a normal will? I don't mean to be a smart alack, but I mean its just a will. – Putvi Apr 22 at 20:03
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    @Anila That Aphrodite would never be informed about any progeny by the donation agency is very important information that should go in the question. If she herself would not be informed, I'd expect that her estate wouldn't be either. It seems no one will even know if she has any offspring, aside from the donation recipients. – Nuclear Wang Apr 22 at 20:17
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    @Putvi The donation agency isn't going to just hand that information out. Aphrodite herself doesn't know who got her eggs, and the donation agency would be prohibited from telling her. Why would they tell her lawyers? Neither Aphrodite, nor anyone she hires, will be able to discover who, if anyone, are the children born from her donation. – Nuclear Wang Apr 22 at 20:23
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    It doesn't have to hand it out. You would just say any children born from the donations are entitled to x or y. Then the children born from the donations can claim it. – Putvi Apr 22 at 20:23
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    You can't go out and find each one in all cases, but in the case they were tracked down the will would provide the inheritance for each one. – Putvi Apr 22 at 20:58
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There are some problems with drafting and administering such a will, but I would think it would be doable. One comment says that it would be an issue "because the children aren't directly Aphrodite's", but i don't see that that is relevant. One can leave money to people who are no relation at all, and who are not specified by name in the will, such as the example of the members of a specific club mentioned in another comment.

A more serious problem is that gametes can remain viable and able to produce children for many years if properly preserved. Aphrodite's will should probably specify that only children in existence as of her death, or perhaps some cut-off date, say X years after her death, qualify as heirs under the will. It would also need to specify if "in existence" meant "born' or "conceived" or what.

A somewhat similar problem can arise without any special reproductive technology. A man can have children without ever knowing it, provided only that he has had sex. I have read of various wills containing provisions such as;

If any person comes forward within one year of my death and establishes that he or she is my biological child, I leave to that person the sum of $1000.

I believe that the wills of rich men sometimes contain such a provision as, in effect, insurance against possible will contents.

Aphrodite's will could be written in a similar way. Any person would have a limited time to come forward and establish parentage. All the persons who do that are the heirs.

Alternatively, Aphrodite could make an agreement with the egg-donating agency that a list of recipients will be provided to the executor under the will. Probably anyone accepting one of her eggs will be told in advance that names will be supplied to the estate under those circumstances, and have to agree to this before accepting the egg(s).

I am sure that a lawyer would fill in many details if advising a real Aphrodite with such an intent. I also assume that none of this would be bothered with unless Aphrodite is fairly wealthy, or even very rich. The whims of rich peole often get respect that those of others do not.

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How could this be done in conjunction with both estate planning and an egg-donating agency?

Important Considerations:

The donator (Aphrodite) is not anonymous and her identify is disclosed to the recipients. The recipients sign an agreement to not use the gametes for third-party donation or medical research. Aphrodite will likely not be directly informed by the donation agency or recipients about who receives her eggs and if children are actually created with them.

As a practical matter no agency operates in this manner, and in most jurisdictions that have statutory regulation of this kind of fertility treatment, the "intended parents" are the exclusive parents of the child born as a result, not the gamate donors who have no legal relationship to the children. Indeed, most agencies have almost perversely strict non-disclosures agreements as well.

Also, no actual agency accepts donations from someone who live such a high risk lifestyle that they are likely to die in five years (risk seeking has a strong genetic component and that level of risk taking would usually be considered to be a genetic defect).

Certainly, there is no law (in the U.S. anyway) that you have to leave your estate to someone related to you in any way. But, this relationship would skate closer to muddying the "intended parent" rule than any agency would be comfortable doing.

I could imagine an individual private lawyer arranging this kind of thing with a number of would be parents, with full disclosure in all directions, and it might even be legal. And, once you know who the kids are or can easily determine that, leaving them assets in a will or trust is easy. But, it would take a bigger departure from the egg-donation agency model than that model would be able to bear, I expect.

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