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Consent

This is a rare area of medical care in which the consent of the patient is not sufficient. The consent of the husband should be obtained before a married woman is impregnated by artificial insemination. Legal questions can arise when a married woman is artificially inseminated with donor sperm. In most states, this child is legally defined as legitimate to the husband. This presumption can be defeated if the physician fails to follow the statutory requirements. If the statute requires the permission of husband and wife, failing to obtain the husband's permission could allow him to deny paternity. The mother could then sue the physician for the child support that his negligence denied her from her (assumed to be divorced) husband.

The husband of a married woman is the legal father of the children she bears. In a natural conception, the consent of the man is implicit in the act. To conceive a child through artificial means with the sperm of another man would violate the terms of the marital contract. Unconsented artificial insemination can have the same legal consequences as adultery. Although the courts might view this as strictly between the husband and wife, they might honor a suit against the physician for any mental pain and suffering the unconsented insemination caused the husband.


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