Acknowledgment of Parentage FAQ

What does it mean to establish parentage?

Establishing parentage is the process of determining the legal parents of a child. Being the legal parent means that parent has parental rights and responsibilities to the child, such as the right to seek custody or visitation and the responsibility for the child's care and support, including financial and medical support.

How can parents establish parentage for their child?

In New York State, parentage may be established in any of the following ways:

What is an Acknowledgment of Parentage?

An Acknowledgment of Parentage (AOP) is a form that parents can use to voluntarily establish legal parentage for a child without having to go to court.

Parents: Can you sign an AOP?
If the birth parent is… And the other parent is the…
Alleged Parent of a child conceived naturally Intended Parent of a child conceived using assisted reproduction
Married at the time of the birth No Yes
Unmarried at the time of the birth Yes Yes
Who is an "alleged parent"?
The person who may be the genetic parent of a child conceived naturally (i.e., through sexual intercourse) but who has not yet been legally declared to be the parent.
Who is an "intended parent"?
As it relates to the Acknowledgment of Parentage (AOP), an intended parent is an individual who intends to be legally bound as the parent of a child resulting from assisted reproduction.
What does it mean if a child is conceived using assisted reproduction?
The child was conceived by a method other than sexual intercourse, such as:
  • intrauterine or vaginal insemination
  • donation of gametes
  • donation of embryos
  • in vitro fertilization and transfer of embryos
  • intracytoplasmic sperm injection
My spouse and I used assisted reproduction to conceive. Can we sign an AOP?
Yes. Parents who conceive using assisted reproduction (for example, by artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, etc.) may choose to sign an AOP; however, it is not required to establish parentage. A child born to married parents is presumed to be the child of both parents. In addition, a record showing your mutual consent to conceive and parent a child using assisted reproduction is sufficient to establish your legal parentage for the child.
My partner and I are not married, and we used assisted reproduction to conceive using sperm from a donor. Can we sign the AOP?
Yes. Parents who conceive using assisted reproduction may choose to sign an AOP to establish parentage, even if one or both of you are not genetically related to the child (i.e., you used a donated embryo, egg, or sperm). A record showing your mutual consent to conceive and parent a child using assisted reproduction is also sufficient to establish your legal parentage for the child.
Our child was born to a surrogate. Can we sign an AOP?
No, the AOP cannot be used if the child was born by surrogacy.
Can parents sign an AOP to establish parentage instead of going through a second-parent adoption?
Yes. Signing an AOP has the same force and effect as a court determination of parentage, and eliminates the need for a second-parent adoption.
If we sign an AOP in New York, will it be recognized in other states?
Yes.