Articles Tagged with surrogacy

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On December 19th, 2014, the highest court in Germany issued a landmark ruling that recognizes German intended parents as the legal parents of children born through surrogacy. The case involved a same-sex couple whose child was born through a surrogate in California. A California court issued a decision that the couple was the legal parents of the child. Upon their return to Germany, the couple petitioned the Berlin courts for a birth certificate listing them as the child’s parents. However, this request was denied because under German law, the California surrogate was considered the child’s mother. The couple appealed the decision, and the Berlin appellate court upheld the refusal to recognize the couple as the child’s parents. The court reasoned that the California court order was null and void in Germany, where surrogacy agreements are against public policy. The appellate court held that German law superseded; therefore only the woman who gave birth could be the child’s legal mother.

The couple further appealed the decision in the Federal Supreme Court, which reversed the previous courts’ rulings. The court ordered that the couple be registered as the child’s legal parents, reasoning that the California court order requires the presumption of validity under the comity principle and that German courts may not question a foreign court’s ruling. The court explained that comity can only be surmounted if the foreign ruling is incompatible with the basic principles of German law. Although German law prohibits surrogacy, the court established that a child born through surrogacy did not control the circumstances of its birth and is entitled to have legal parents. The court also reasoned that denying the couple legal parentage would be incompatible with basic human rights, as the child’s mother is not recognized as such in her jurisdiction and is not prepared to take responsibility for the child.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for MLJ WEB.jpgFor the second year in a row, attorney Michele Jackson has been selected as a finalist for the annual Indy’s Best and Brightest award ceremony created by Junior Achievement. The event will honor 100 of central Indiana’s most outstanding young professionals, age 40 and under, in 10 different industries.

The Best and Brightest event was created by Junior Achievement to recognize up and coming talent and the next generation of leaders in our community. Finalists in each category are judged on professional accomplishments, civic contributions, character and leadership qualities. The finalists to be honored at the event are listed below, as well as the website, www.indysbestandbrightest.org.

Michele Jackson chairs the firm’s Adoption and Reproductive Law Practice Group and focuses her practice in domestic and international adoptions as well as reproductive law matters. Jackson is also the founder of MLJ Adoptions, Inc.

same sex couple babies.jpgWhen a gay couple in Texas was denied the ability to place their names on their newborn children’s birth certificates, the news story went viral. Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs, whose twin boys were born through a gestational surrogate, are each the biological father of one of the babies. However, neither of their names is listed on the boys’ birth certificates, nor were they allowed to proceed with their second-parent adoption. Their petition to remove the surrogate’s name from the birth certificate, place their names on the birth certificates, and adopt each other’s biological child was denied. The surrogate, who has no biological ties to the children as the couple used an egg donor, is the only name on each birth certificate. Texas’s ban on same-sex marriage was cited as the reason for the decision. Although ruled unconstitutional last February, the decision was stayed pending appeal and judges can use their discretion in these cases. Texas law requires a second-parent adoption to be between two legally married people. Although Hanna and Riggs were legally married in Washington D.C., the state of Texas does not recognize their marriage and denied their petition for a second-parent adoption. According to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Texas and 17 other states have “unclear” laws regarding LGBT adoption and allow judges to have discretion to decide if LGBT parents can adopt. Regardless of Texas’ stance on same-sex marriage, it is unclear as to why the judge denied the petitions for each father to be listed on his biological child’s birth certificate.

Indiana is one of the few states that explicitly authorize same sex couples to petition for second-parent adoptions. Along with California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, Indiana recognizes second-parent adoptions for same-sex couples through precedent-setting rulings at the state court level. Connecticut, Colorado, and Vermont allow second-parent adoptions by statute. Indiana law also does not prohibit individuals from adoption based on their sexual orientation. Therefore, LGBT individuals may petition to adopt, and same-sex couples may jointly petition to adopt.

The attorneys at Harden Jackson have a great deal of experience helping couples in their family building journey, in addition to assisting clients in all areas of family law, adoption, and reproductive law matters. For more information, please contact our office at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

National Infertility Awareness Week® (NIAW) is a movement that began in 1989. The goal of NIAW is to raise awareness about the disease of infertility and encourage the public to understand their reproductive health.

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association founded this movement and continues to work with the professional family building community, corporate partners, and the media to:

  • ensure that people trying to conceive know the guidelines for seeing a specialist when they are trying to conceive.

fortune.jpgAn important issue surrounding frozen embryos has recently emerged into spotlight: What happens when parents die and leave no will or instructions for the fertility clinic regarding the disposition of their frozen embryos? A Master in Chancery appointed by a Dallas probate court has recommended that a two year old boy, whose parents were murdered, inherit their eleven frozen embryos when he turns eighteen. John Robertson, professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin, addresses the groundbreaking nature of this case in the Harvard Law Petrie-Flom Center Blog by stating that “there are no Texas or United States cases involving inheritance of frozen embryos when both parties have died and left no instructions with the clinic or in a will.”

This issue introduces the question of whether frozen embryos are considered “property” in these types of scenarios. Robertson informs us that the Master found that Texas courts have not held them to be property, nor have they found them to be worthless. He reports that as a result, the Master assigned them an implicit value under Texas’s intestacy statute since they can be the subject of an enforceable contract. If they embryos are not designated as “property,” the Master found that the boy can still retain an “ownership interest” that would give him “dispositional control” over the eleven embryos.

Robertson introduces the complex issues that arise from giving a two year old orphan dispositional control over his future siblings when he turns eighteen, including the “oddity” of asking someone so young to “decide whether to continue paying storage fees, discard [the embryos], or donate to others or to research.”

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Families facing infertility have a variety of options to build their family. We assist families with the legal process of building their families through adoption and assisted reproductive technology. There are extensive costs that come with these options. We often get questions from potential clients about how to afford these processes. There are different financial options to assist families with the financial burden.

Specifically, when looking at your options for creating and building your family, surrogacy should not be ruled out because of the expenses. Although the process can cost at least $60,000, there are many options for families to finance and afford the hefty price tag of choosing surrogacy.

Roesch, Amanda_5649Web.jpgCARMEL, IN – June 27, 2013 -Harden Jackson is pleased to announce that Amanda D. Sapp has joined the firm’s Assisted Reproductive Technology and Adoption practices.

Amanda Sapp is a registered nurse and worked at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for over 7 years. In 2011, Ms. Sapp graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing. Ms. Sapp received her Juris Doctor from Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis. Ms. Sapp has also been certified by the Indiana Supreme Court as a registered public policy mediator. Prior to joining Harden Jackson, Ms. Sapp worked for a law firm as a legal nurse consultant.

Her legal and medical knowledge will, no doubt, help serve clients in the ever evolving area of assisted reproductive law.

1161454_67402672.jpgAssisted reproductive technology (ART) is a general term referring to the third party techniques or medical methods used to achieve pregnancy without insemination by sexual intercourse. The technology is used for a variety of reasons, but the ultimate goal is for individuals and couples to have a child when they otherwise would not been able to do so. The term is used in medical and legal fields and encompasses a number of different subjects and processes.

For any prospective parent, the jargon can be overwhelming, being inundated with unusual abbreviations and complex terminology. To be able to better understand the legal implications and responsibilities in donor agreements and surrogacy contracts, it is important to have a basic understanding of some of the more common terms and procedures. Below are common terms and their definitions to help prospective parents navigate through the ART journey.

  • ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY (ART) – A group of treatment methods used to improve fertility, which involves collecting the eggs and putting them in direct contact with sperm.

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This is part two of a two-part series on surrogacy considerations.Surrogacy can be an extraordinary gift to help an individual or couples build their family. However, it is best if some security measures be employed to ensure that all parties have a positive experience. There are many issues to consider when entering into a surrogacy relationship. The topics below are by no means exhaustive, as every surrogacy relationship is different. Once again, we present you additional questions to consider when using a surrogate.

1. Is the surrogate married?

The surrogate might benefit by having the support of a husband or partner throughout the process. The surrogate’s partner may also need to agree to be tested for a sexually transmitted disease. The husband will also need to sign some of the legal documents.

Thumbnail image for 1252251_maternity_photos.jpgSurrogacy can be an extraordinary gift to help an individual or couples build their family. However, it is best if some security measures be employed to ensure that all parties have a positive experience. There are many issues to consider when entering into a surrogacy relationship. The topics below are by no means exhaustive, as every surrogacy relationship is different. Your needs as well as the needs of the Surrogate may change during the course of the surrogacy. With that said, it is extremely important to consider the following information prior to entering into a surrogacy relationship. This is part one of a two-part series.

1. Is the surrogate in a “surrogacy friendly” state?

It is extremely important that the surrogate resides in a “surrogate friendly” state. It could prohibit the intended parents from establishing parentage in the child if the state prohibits surrogacy. There are a number of legal issues that concern third party reproduction. The laws regarding third party reproduction vary and are different from one state to another in the United States. Thus, all couples are advised to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable in the area of reproductive law, within their individual state. And this attorney needs to be legally able to practice law in the state where the surrogate will deliver.

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