Articles Tagged with “indiana assisted reproductive law”

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:

capitol-820611_1280-150x150Indiana Representative Robin Shackleford recently introduced House Bill 1059, which would require insurance companies to offer coverage for fertility treatments. This bill was inspired by a local woman‘s public fight to shine light on the fact that infertility affects one in eight women. In virto fertilization is used to help families who struggle with infertility, but with such a high price not all families can afford the service.  Shackleford commented, “I’ve heard a lot of stories where women have literally drained out their 401K. We need to see how we can level the playing field and let it be affordable for everyone.”

One local family, Cher Kimbrough and her partner Samuel traveled out of state to get more affordable fertility treatment. “I found the place in New York and it was $4,000. Right away I thought it was a catch because they are charging $4,000 for the same thing they’re charging 20 grand for in Indy,” Kimbrough commented Even though this family had a happy ending, there are many families that can’t afford this treatment. According to Shackleford, the next step is getting both constituents and insurers together to come to a consensus before the bill is heard by the house insurance committee. Stay tuned to our blog for updates on the developments of this bill.

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.

Spain
Last month, the Supreme Court of Spain issued a landmark ruling that recognizes the right to paid maternity leave for parents of children born through surrogacy. Although gestational surrogacy is illegal in Spain, the Court held that the need to take care of children outweighs any legal barriers set forth by Spain’s surrogacy ban. The decision also extends various rights to mothers of children born through surrogacy, such as a reduced workday for nursing mothers and the right to take one year of unpaid leave after the maternity leave. Spaniards who seek to build their family through surrogacy must go abroad, and two such scenarios, one involving a surrogacy arrangement in the United States and the other in India, set this case in motion.  In October, Spain’s congress also voted to equalize paternity and maternity leave, awarding fathers the same sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave that mothers receive.

The decision comes at a time when the issue of maternity benefits is in the spotlight in the United States.  A New Jersey woman is suing her former employer, Verizon Network Solutions, for denying her paid maternity leave when she had children through surrogacy in 2013. Various arguments exist for both sides of the issue. For example, some posit that since mothers of children born to a gestational surrogate did not give birth, they do not need time to recover physically. This argument is often used to justify the denial of extended paternity leave for fathers. On the other hand, proponents of maternity benefits for mothers of children born through surrogacy contend that a new mom needs time to bond with the baby, especially when she did not carry the child.

Although the Verizon lawsuit is one of the first of its kind (there was a federal lawsuit to claim benefits for paid leave by a woman who had children through surrogacy in 2011, but the case was ultimately dismissed), this issue is likely to become more prevalent as gestational surrogacy continues to grow as a family-building option. Stay tuned to our blog for more discussions on emerging reproductive law issues.

Phone App
The London Sperm Bank just launched the United Kingdom’s first sperm donor app, nicknamed by news outlets as the “Tinder for Sperm Donors.”  Individuals can use the app to search for sperm donors and order sperm on their phones. The free app , considered the first of its kind, displays donor profiles that describe physical characteristics, medical history, the sperm bank’s staff impressions, and other information (check out this Cosmopolitan article for some examples). Users can set preferences for characteristics such as eye color, hair color, education, and personality, and receive an alert when a donor matching their criteria is available. In contrast to dating apps like Tinder, donor profiles are anonymous and do not contain photos. Donors are vetted by the London Sperm Bank and pay a fee to be listed on the app.

The app has been approved by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (“HFEA”); the UK’s regulating entity that oversees IVF research, clinics, and procedures. However, the app has also generated some ethical debate. A representative of the Comment on Reproductive Ethics group stated that the app constitutes “trivialisation of parenthood,” equating it to “reproduction via mobile phone.” Meanwhile, the London Sperm Bank issued a statement assuring that “Ordering sperm from an online catalogue or an app does not trivialise treatment, and every step meets the requirements of the HFEA.” Additionally, the scientific director of the London Sperm bank stated “you make all the transactions online, like you do anything else these days. This allows a woman who wants to get a sperm donor to gain control in the privacy of her own home and to choose and decide in her own time.”

We are curious to see the impact of the app and whether other sperm banks follow suit. Has this app revolutionized gamete donation as we know it? Only time will tell. Stay tuned to our blog for more updates on the app as it gains traction among individuals seeking sperm donors.

8-10-09-193-thumb-667x1000-60849As gestational surrogacy continues to increase in the United States, so do opportunities to observe its trends and outcomes. Many states presently permit gestational surrogacy, although the laws vary by state and are rapidly evolving. Researchers from the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility compiled information regarding the below trends arising from the continued practice of gestational surrogacy in the United States:

  • In the past 15 years, the number of gestational carrier cycles has grown by more than 470%.
  • Almost 70% of fertility clinics throughout the country now offer gestational surrogacy.

From a recent CNN story, when a Connecticut couple learned their surrogate mother was carrying a fetus with developmental disabilities, they offered her $10,000 to have an abortion.

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In August 2011, Crystal Kelley was carrying the child of another couple. When Kelley was approximately 20 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound showed that the baby had a cleft lip and palate, a cyst in the brain, and a complex heart abnormality. The parents offered Kelley $10,000 to abort, stating “Given the ultrasound findings, (the parents) feel that the interventions required to manage (the baby’s medical problems) are overwhelming for an infant, and that it is a more humane option to consider pregnancy termination,”. Kelley declined. The couple and the surrogate had legal contracts and part of that contract included a clause that she’d agree to abort if the fetus had a severe abnormality. However, the contract did not define what constitutes such an abnormality.

The parents then stated that they planned to exercise their legal right to take custody of their child — and then immediately after birth surrender her to the state of Connecticut. She would become a ward of the state. Kelley could not bear to send the child into the foster care system, especially when she had so many medical problems.

In 2012 I joined the board of directors for a local nonprofit called the Indiana Collaboration for Families with Infertility (ICFI). This organization, founded by a local family and 100% volunteer ran, provides support, resources, and education for families struggling with infertility.

Picture1.jpgThis week ICFI is holding our annual $5 for Families campaign to raise crucial funds to help continue our services. For a donation of only $5 you can help make a difference in the lives of many local families. 100% of the proceeds from this campaign go directly towards ICFI’s support services.

You can make your donation online by visiting: http://myicfi.org/for-families/