Ask the Lawyer: Why is Estate Planning important to you when using Assisted Reproductive Technology?

Q: Why is Estate Planning important to you when using Assisted Reproductive Technology? Part II: Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives

It is vital to have Powers of Attorney such as an Asset Management Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney to appoint an Agent to make decisions if you are unable to do so as it relates to medical decisions for you and the child during an ART procedure, as well as address disposition of stored genetic material, the control of stored genetic material, payment for procedures in ART and make decisions regarding the storage of genetic material during any period of incapacity. Also, with a Healthcare Power of Attorney, an Agent can be named to control and consent to retrieval of gametes, and subsequent use of gametes during a period of incapacity and/or posthumously added.

A Living Will and/or advanced directive also becomes important in situations when a party is incapacitated and cannot make decisions for themselves as he/she is in a persistent vegetative state or irreversible coma and will not return to normal life.

Also, in surrogacy situations, the importance of naming an Agent in a Power of Attorney for a Surrogate and Will for Intended Parents becomes imperative to ensure parental rights are established of the parties and child in the event of incapacity or death of a party to the arrangement.

When dealing with legal issues as a result of infertility or infertility treatments, you should speak to an attorney experienced in the knowledge of Assisted Reproductive Technology Law as well as Family or Estate Planning Law, as all of these potential legal issues may be applicable to your personal situation and understanding the law and your options is paramount in the forefront of your journey.

Before you begin in any ART procedure, don’t assume that your spouse/partner will be able to make all decisions for you if you cannot protect your choices and rights, and be prepared by having a Will and Power of Attorney.