Illinois In Vitro Fertilization: What are the legal aspects of IVF?

Understanding the Legal Framework of IVF in Illinois

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a miraculous scientific advancement that has provided hope to countless individuals and couples struggling with infertility. However, as with any medical procedure involving reproductive technologies, IVF comes with a complex set of legal considerations. In Illinois, laws have been established to address the various aspects of IVF, from consent to parental rights and from insurance coverage to the disposition of embryos.

Consent and Contracts

Before undergoing IVF in Illinois, patients must navigate the legal requirement of informed consent. This includes understanding the medical risks, potential outcomes, and legal implications. Additionally, Illinois law requires that intended parents enter into detailed contracts, especially when using donor gametes or surrogates. These agreements serve to clarify parental rights and responsibilities before conception, thus preventing disputes down the line.

Parental Rights

The question of parental rights can be particularly complex in IVF cases. Unlike natural conception, legal parentage in IVF may involve donors or surrogates. Illinois has been proactive in this regard, with statutes that provide for the establishment of parentage in the case of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). For example, under the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015, a donor is not considered a legal parent unless there is a prior agreement to the contrary.

Insurance Coverage for IVF

Illinois is one of the few states with laws mandating certain insurance plans to cover infertility treatments including IVF. The Illinois Insurance Code requires that companies with more than 25 employees provide coverage for infertility procedures. There are specific qualifications that must be met for this coverage to apply, which underscores the importance of understanding your insurance policy's fine print.

Embryo Disposition

The issue of embryo disposition arises when couples have remaining embryos after completing their family or in cases of separation or divorce. Illinois law does not have specific statutes addressing embryo disposition; however, case law and contracts entered at the time of IVF can guide these decisions. It is crucial for individuals undergoing IVF to have clear agreements regarding the future use or disposal of embryos.


As technology advances and more people turn to ART to build their families, it's likely that Illinois will continue to evolve its legal stance on IVF and related procedures. Understanding these laws can help prospective parents navigate the journey more smoothly and avoid potential legal pitfalls.