Hoge Partners, PLLC - Louisville, Kentucky - LGBTQ Family Law Issues

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Hoge Partners, PLLC

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Louisville, Kentucky 40202

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Surrogacy, Artificial Insemination and LGBTQ Parents

There is absolutely no question that scientific breakthroughs in assisted reproduction have opened up an enormous range of opportunities for LGBTQ people to become parents.  These include engaging a surrogate to carry a fetus to term, sperm donors, egg donors, artificial insemination and other assisted reproduction techniques.

This is an EXTREMELY complex area of Family Law, fraught with many potential complications that could have far-reaching impact on multiple individuals.  We strongly recommend seeking legal advice from an attorney familiar with these many potential areas of conflict.


Engaging a gestational surrogate to carry a fetus to term is legal in Kentucky; however, there are an enormous number of legal aspects that have to been considered.  Who is donating the egg?  Who is donating the sperm?  Who is paying the surrogate's maternity and delivery expenses?  What about other costs associated with the paternity?  Where will the child be delivered?  What if the child has physical and developmental issues?  Whose names will be on the child's birth certificate?

Once you have decided to go with surrogacy, you then must decide if you want to use a traditional or gestational surrogate. A traditional surrogate conceives using her own egg, so the child would be biologically related to her. Gestational surrogates, on the other hand, are implanted with an embryo that comes from donors, so there will be no genetic relationship.

Uncompensated surrogacy agreements are permissable in Kentucky and agreements which involve money being paid to the surrogate mother are prohibited.  It is possible for the adoptive parent(s) to pay for the direct medical costs associated with the pregnancy and delivery but compensation beyond this will likely be deemed illegal.

Artificial Insemination:

A cis female who is physically capable of becoming pregnant has the option of using artificial insemination to do so and hopefully carrying a child to term with a successful delivery.  She can become pregnant through natural or artificial means, with or without the assistance of a medical professional.

Regardless of the mechanism involved, this process too is fraught with many legal complications.  Is the donor known to the recipient or anonymous?  Is the donor to be compensated for his contribution to the process?  Is it appropriate to enter into a contractual relationship with the sperm donor?  Is he to be named on the child's birth certificate?  Will he have any parental rights or obligations such as child support?

If the cis female chooses to use a reproductive clinic to achieve pregnancy, some of these complications will be less pressing but they still have to be considered.  For instance, in most states, if a licensed physician is the one performing the artificial insemination of a woman who is not the donor's wife, then the donor does not have parental rights or responsibilities.

In either event, if the biological mother should ever seek public assistance such as food stamps, housing subsidies, medical care, etc., will the state be able to pursue the biological father for a contribution to the child's care in the form of child support, regardless of the biological mother's wishes?

Egg and Sperm Donors:

Embryo, oocyte (egg) and sperm donations are permissible under Kentucky law but like all the other aspects of assisted reproduction addressed here, there are many limitations and legal concerns associated with these processes.


Married or unmarried heterosexual couples who become parents are, by default, considered joint custodians of their children.  The situation is different for obvious biological reasons in the case of same-sex couples.

It is generally recommended that non-biological parents either legally adopt the child or children in question or, in the alternative, obtain a court order recognizing the parties as legal parents.

Even if the two parties wish to raise a child together without being in a relationship, an enforceable co-parenting agreement can define their respective responsibilities and rights, hopefully avoiding future conflicts.

A co-parenting agreement can also protect the rights of a second parent who is not the biological mother or father of the child if he/she is not recognized as a legal parent and may not adopt the child. 


If you, with or without a partner, want to pursue reproductive assistance in acquiring a child, we strongly encourage you to consult with a Family Law attorney experienced in this highly complicated field. 



Other LGBTQ Legal Issues:

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and non-heterosexual couples and individuals have other significant legal issues besides dependency, abuse and neglect cases, such as:

The attorneys at Hoge Partners, PLLC will be happy to talk to you about your legal options affected by gender identity and/or sexual orientation.  Call us today.