blog_rainbowflag1-300x199While surrogacy is not legal in many parts of the world, there are also countries, like Israel, that allow some, but not all citizens, to become parents through surrogacy.  Under current Israeli law, only heterosexual partners can enter surrogacy agreements, with an amendment in the works that would allow single woman to legally use surrogacy. This means that in Israel, same-sex couples and single men cannot become parents using a surrogate.

In 2015, two activist groups filed a petition to get rid of the ban on surrogacy for same-sex couples. The hearing was scheduled for July 20, 2017, but has been pushed back to September 19, 2017. The Israeli Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry has said they “will take the position that the prohibition on same-sex surrogacy is not about discrimination, and it is more complicated.” They are suggesting a complete redo of the current foster care system, and argue that “only after the reform should lawmakers be asked to change the laws in favor of additional groups.” Udi Ledergor, Chairman of the Associates of Israeli Gay Fathers, said “We will continue to fight until we have removed the darkness and discrimination.” Check back on our blog in the coming months for more information on the Ministry’s decision, as it becomes available.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy, and other areas of reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

videoblocks-foster-care-word-cloud-text-design-animation-kinetic-typography_sfucn7jnx_thumbnail-medium08-300x169Adoption is an excellent form of creating a family for those affected by infertility. This post focuses specifically on foster care adoption. There are more than 110,000 children in the foster care system, but nearly 20,000 of these children will never find their adoptive home according to the US Foster Care System. Rita Soronen, the chief executive of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, states, “Foster care adoption hasn’t always been an easy conversation, but all of us in the child welfare stratosphere have tried to educate the public to change misconceptions about foster care.” This awareness effort seems to be paying off, because according to the 2017 US Adoption Attitudes Survey, nearly 80% of people looking to adopt for the first time would consider a child in foster care, which is 7% more than in 2012. Denise Henderson, a single mom who adopted through the foster care system, says, “My daughter came to live with us as a newborn. It took three long years before the courts freed her for adoption. The weight that lifted off me in that moment was incredible.” This is a similar story for many parents who adopt through the foster system. The adoption process may be lengthy at times as it is conducted through the juvenile court systems, but is very rewarding in the end and makes a huge difference in children’s lives.

There are many organizations working toward making the process easier by placing children in homes that are best suited for them and making the transition easier for them. One organization in Indiana, Children’s Bureau, has helped more than 46,000 children and families since 2014. The Villages, another foster agency, serves more than 3,000 kids a day across Indiana. For many parents the happiness that comes with adoption overcomes the struggles that often accompany the foster care system.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy, and other areas of reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

Many people know Cristiano Ronaldo from his excellent soccer skills, but few know he just became a father to twins through the help of a gestational surrogate! The surrogate gave birth just outside of San Diego, California to a girl and a boy named Eva and Mateo, pictured below.

Cristiano-Ronaldo-with-his-newborn-baby-twins-300x200
This is not the first-time Ronaldo has used surrogacy to build his family. His 7-year-old son Cristiano Jr. was also born through surrogacy. Ronaldo resorted to pursuing surrogacy in the United States because his home country, Portugal, does not permit legally single men to use surrogacy.

Ronaldo is not the first celebrity to have children through surrogacy.  He joins other stars such as Tyra Banks,rs_1024x648-160508111011-1024-tyra-banks-son-mom-mothers-day-2016-050816-300x190

MJ-Avvo-200x300 KVPhotoWebsiteNew-200x300Harden Jackson attorneys Michele Jackson and Katherine Schwartz will present the CLE “Hoosier Baby? An Intro to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Law in Indiana on July 28th, 2017 from 12:00 PM-1:00 PM as part of the Indiana State Bar Association Brown Bag Series. The presentation will take place at the Indiana State Bar Association office, One Indiana Square, Suite 530, Indianapolis, Indiana  46204. This CLE, available live and as a Webinar, is geared toward judges, family law practitioners, and professionals interested in learning about the rapidly growing field of

Assisted Reproductive Technology (“ART”) law. If unable to attend in person, a live stream is available as well. Click here to register and view more information.

The official description of the CLE is as follows:

Shttps://www.indianafamilylawyerblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/285/2017/07/pinterest-icon-logo-D4965B6748-seeklogo.com_.pngocial media site, Pinterest, recently added adoption and surrogacy benefits for its 500 employees. Pinterest’s employees will be eligible to receive up to $5,000 in adoption reimbursement and up to $20,000 for surrogacy benefits. Pinterest already provides 16 weeks of paid parental leave, as well as up to $20,000 in fertility benefits. Pinterest head of diversity and inclusion, Candice Morgan, stated, “Our [team] often speaks with employees to learn more about how we should expand our benefits, and we recently spoke with a colleague who’s been considering surrogacy with his husband.”

Pinterest is not the only company that provides fertility and adoption benefits. American Express offers five months of paid leave across genders, along with $35,000 to assist with adoption and surrogacy. Ernst & Young offers up to $25,000 for same-sex and heterosexual couples to cover adoption, surrogacy, and egg freezing services. Johnson & Johnson has also increased its benefits for surrogacy, adoption, and fertility services. As adoption, fertility treatment, and surrogacy become more common forms of family-building, companies will need to follow the lead of those mentioned in this blog post and expand the scope of their benefits to meet the needs of their employees.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy, and other areas of reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

nevada-43769_960_720-215x300Nevada recently passed a new law that significantly improves surrogacy and adoption laws in the state. First, it gender neutralizes all adoption and assisted reproductive technology statutes. The law, effective July 1, 2017, will now refer to an “acknowledgment of paternity” as an “acknowledgment of parentage.” This strips away the old language and allows the law to recognize the variety of family types and structures that exist today. Nevada attorney Kimberly Mae Surratt, who helped get these laws passed, commented, “we gender neutralized every single statute in the State of Nevada and it was done with bipartisan support.” The changes in adoption laws include that petitioners to an adoption don’t have to live in the state of Nevada to adopt in the Nevada, which used to only allow non-residents petitioners to adopt if the child was in custody of an agency which provided child welfare services.

This new statue also expands the ability to obtain a parentage order in the state. In surrogacy arrangements, parentage orders can now be obtained in these situations: the child was born in Nevada or is anticipated to be born in Nevada; the Intended Parents reside in Nevada or resided there when the contract was executed; the Gestational Carrier resides in Nevada; the contract was executed in Nevada; and medical procedures were performed in Nevada. This long list of ways to obtain a parentage order largely facilitates the surrogacy process for all parties involved. Nevada is one of few states that have recently made large leaps in dispensing with old laws that address family building; replacing them with much more progressive ones.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy, and other areas of reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

This past April, the District of Columbia reversed a 25-year-old law that banned surrogacy contracts, which beforehand contracting with a surrogate was a criminal offense, and altruistic surrogacy could land you a $10,000 fine or even a year in jail. Laws are beginning to be updated as the meaning of family evolves and technology advances. D.C Council member Charles Allen stated, “In the District, we are a place where we respect all couples and how they choose to start a family.” This law permits intended parents to establish their legal parentage during the pregnancy, so their names can be printed listed on the birth certificate upon the child’s birth. As well as allowing intended parents to be paid for carrying their child. The law applies to any intended parent(s), whether single, married, gay, or straight.

The Council has set out a list of agreement guidelines that the parties must follow, including: the surrogate being over the age of 21 and having delivered her own child, both parties having independent counsel, and both parties passing a psychological evaluation. Several states still have minimal or no laws that regarding surrogacy. For example, while Indiana has an antiquated statute regarding the unenforceability of surrogacy contracts (click here to read more about this statute and why surrogacy agreements are nevertheless completed in Indiana) and no other statutory laws on surrogacy, Indiana has strong case law that provides a favorable environment for the establishment of parentage in children born through surrogacy.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy, and other areas of reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

Rainbow_flag_and_blue_skies-300x199In May 2017, Taiwan’s highest court system ruled in favor of gay marriage, holding that Taiwan’s current laws violated the rights of same-sex couples. The Parliament, also known as the Legislative Yuan, has two years to amend the existing laws or pass new legislation. While it is unclear as to how far the parliament will go, hopes are that the parliament will amend the existing laws to include same-sex marriage. This will give same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples, including adoption, parenting, and inheritance. This spur was brought about when President Tsai Ing-wen came into power, whose key campaign issues included marriage equality.

Many Taiwanese opposition groups are willing to lobby against the parliament to keep the laws from being passed, arguing that the decision should be left to the people and not a few grand justices. As previously stated, the parliament has two years to change its marriage laws. If the two years pass with no change, then same-sex couples will be able to register for marriage. The bill is presently making its way through the parliament, but the process has slowed due to backlash from the opposition. Check back for updates on this legislation and other similar happenings throughout the world.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy, and other areas of reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

T5662029278_ea66e0d9bf_qhe Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments last week after the State of Indiana appealed a federal judge’s ruling that permitted same-sex couples to list both names on their child’s birth certificate. In June 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana issued a decision allowing the placement of both females in a same-sex marriage on their child’s birth certificate. Prior to this ruling, the State of Indiana permitted only the listing of a mother and a father on a birth certificate. As a result, in the case of female married same-sex couples, only the woman who carried the child could be listed as the child’s parent on the birth certificate. The child was considered born out of wedlock, and the spouse needed to adopt the child to become a legal parent.  The Court held that Indiana’s refusal to recognize two mothers on a birth certificate violated the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, because the State did not extend equal rights to married same-sex couples. After the decision was issued, the State of Indiana began placing both married same-sex parents’ names on their children’s birth certificates, which was a very progressive step that continues to provide a great benefit to our married same-sex clients.  Click here to read our blog post about the 2016 district court ruling for more information.

During the oral arguments, Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher argued that Indiana law only provides parental rights through biology or adoption, and contended that the district court’s decision created a third category that “creates inequality and undermines the rights of the biological fathers.”  Meanwhile, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, Karen Celestino-Horseman, responded that Indiana law does not treat married same-sex couples and married heterosexual couples equally. For example, the law treats female spouses of women who underwent artificial insemination differently than male spouses of women in the same scenario, as the male spouse would be the presumed legal father of the child under Indiana law.  The Seventh Circuit frequently alluded to biology during the oral arguments, with Judge Diane S. Skyes stating, “You can’t overcome biology and if the state defines parenthood by biology, no argument under Equal Protection Clause of the substantive due process clause can overcome that.”  Celestino-Horseman countered that parenthood is no longer defined by biology.

The Seventh Circuit is taking the case under advisement and will make a ruling at a later date. We are hopeful that the Seventh Circuit makes a decision that accords equal rights to married-same sex couples, and continues to allow both parents to be listed on their children’s birth certificates in the State of Indiana.  Stay tuned to our blog for more updates on this case.

IVFAccording to a report by the U.S. Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), roughly one million babies have been born with the use of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or other assisted reproductive technologies. The report stated that there was a positive trend in using different techniques, such as only implanting one embryo rather than multiple. By implanting more than one embryo, it frequently leads to twins, triplets, and dangerous complications arising from giving birth to multiples, thus decreasing the risk of premature deliveries and pregnancy complications. SART reported, “Fewer embryos transferred leads to lower incidence of multiple birth: 80.5 percent of babies born from 2015 cycles were singletons; 19.1 percent twins; and fewer than one-half of one percent were triplets (or higher order).”

In 1981, the first American baby was born using IVF, and as of 2015, around every one in every 100 babies born in the US is born using IVF or other treatments. With IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies becoming so popular, laws are changing to catch up with medical advances and provide the same legal rights to parents that have children through assisted reproduction as other parents. Read our other blog posts to learn more about changes in reproductive law that are happening in the US and around the world.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients throughout the Indianapolis area and the state of Indiana in all areas family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy and other areas of assisted reproductive technology law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.