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Definition of Assisted Reproduction

Assisted reproduction is a blanket term for a number of techniques that aid fertilization. The most common technique is in-vitro fertilization, where a doctor retrieves a woman's eggs and fertilizes them with sperm in a Petri dish. If fertilization occurs, the doctor will implant the embryo in the lining of the woman's uterus. Leftover embryos are frozen to be used later. In-vitro fertilization and other assisted reproduction techniques allow women to become pregnant who might not be able to do so otherwise. A woman can be implanted with an egg that is not her own, or sperm can be used from a man other than her husband.

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Presumptions of parenthood

If a wife, with the consent of her husband, consents to assisted reproduction with sperm donated by a man other than her husband, through a licensed physician the husband is treated in law as the legal father of any child conceived through the assisted reproduction. Similarly, if a woman, with the consent of her husband, consents to assisted reproduction with an egg donated by another woman through a licensed physician, to conceive a child for herself, not as a surrogate, the wife is treated in law as the legal mother of any child conceived through the assisted reproduction.

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Requirements for assisted reproduction

Both the husband and the wife must consent in writing to this procedure, and must also provide their signatures. The procedure must be administered by a licensed physician or advanced practice nurse. Then the physician or advanced practice nurse must certify their signatures and the date of the assisted reproduction and file the contents with the Department of Public Health and Environment. All papers and records pertaining to the assisted reproduction are kept confidential in a sealed file, and are subject to inspection only upon an order of court for good cause shown.

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Sperm donors

A sperm donor is not a legal father of a child conceived through assisted reproduction unless that sperm donor is providing sperm for assisted reproduction by his wife.

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Dissolution

If a marriage is dissolved before the placement of the embryo, the former spouse is not a parent of the resulting child unless the former spouse consented in a record that if assisted reproduction were to occur after dissolution of the marriage, the former spouse would be a parent of the child.

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Death

If a spouse dies before the placement of the embryo, the deceased spouse is not a parent of the resulting child unless the deceased spouse consented in a record that if assisted reproduction were to occur after death, the deceased spouse would be a parent of the child.