California Continues to Strengthen Surrogacy Protections with Amended Law

California is once again proving that surrogacy should only be done in this state. On September 26, 2014, Governor Brown signed a bill that amended Family Code Section 7962 to include the following provision:

Disclosure of how the intended parents will cover the medical expenses of the gestational carrier and of the newborn or newborns. If health care coverage is used to cover those medical expenses, the disclosure shall include a review of the health care policy provisions related to coverage for surrogate pregnancy, including any possible liability of the gestational carrier, third-party liability liens or other insurance coverage, and any notice requirements that could affect coverage or liability of the gestational carrier. The review and disclosure do not constitute legal advice. If coverage of liability is uncertain, a statement of that fact shall be sufficient to meet the requirements of this section.

It appears on its face that the amendment is to provide greater protections to the parties involved – surrogates and intended parents – so that no one is uncertain as to how costs are to be covered in a surrogacy; however, it does bring up the issue of creating liability for involved third parties. We will have to see how it plays out once the law is in effect and being utilized.

Links:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/asm/ab_2301-2350/ab_2344_bill_20140926_chaptered.pdf

keywords: surrogate mother, surrogacy, surrogate, intended parents, California surrogacy, surrogacy laws, California surrogacy laws, surrogacy agreement, gestational surrogacy, California Family Code 7962

Vague Surrogacy Laws in the US Make Problems for Many

California is once again proving that surrogacy should only be done in a state where all parties – surrogates and intended parents – can rest assured that their surrogacy agreement will be honored. Like we have seen most recently overseas in Thailand and India, not everyone lives up to their end of the bargain. And, now that has hit the US.

In Tennessee a surrogate decided one week after birth that she wanted to keep her genetic child that she was carrying for an Italian couple. You see she was a traditional surrogate, one who was inseminated with the Intended Father’s sperm. Now after years of legal bouts in lower courts where the surrogate was denied any custody, the Tennessee Supreme Court has just ruled that she is entitled to some custody and visitation.

Unfortunately for everyone involved, the 3-year-old child lives in Italy, speaks no English and has never known her surrogate mother. According to the Tennessean:

Tennessee’s surrogacy law “lacks a clear process for persons to create, carry out, and enforce traditional surrogacy agreements,” the Supreme Court noted in its opinion. That “leaves parties to surrogacy contracts and courts ill-equipped to deal with the complex questions that inevitably arise in this area of law.”

The lack of legal guidelines has led to heartbreak.

“Certainly, it’s complicated to try at this point to establish a visitation schedule if you have a child who doesn’t speak English, has never met the surrogate but does have a biological mother whose rights have never been terminated,” said Benjamin Papa, an attorney for the Italian couple, whose identities — like the surrogate’s — remain confidential in the court’s order.

“The battle has been very hard,” Papa said. “They went through the whole surrogacy process in good faith. From their perspective, the surrogate decided she wasn’t going to live up to the bargain at the last minute. They have been very frustrated with her trying to back out of the deal everyone agreed to.”

The case is one of two recent court decisions illuminating a void in state laws guiding surrogacy contracts.

Tennessee’s lack of legal guidelines extends to gestational surrogacy, a more common surrogacy arrangement. Unlike the case of the Italian couple, who used traditional surrogacy – in which the surrogate’s own egg was fertilized by the Italian father’s sperm – gestational surrogacy involves implanting a fertilized egg into a surrogate that has no biological relationship with the woman pregnant with the baby.

Sidenote: Tennessee is one of four states that require an intended mother who uses an egg donor to wait until after the child’s birth to become the legal parent. The mother has to adopt the child. The other states are Nebraska, Louisiana and Iowa.

Links:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/20/vague-surrogacy-laws-heartache/17643529/

Keywords:

surrogate mother, surrogacy, surrogate, intended parents, California surrogacy, surrogacy laws, California surrogacy laws, surrogacy agreement, Baby Gammy, traditional surrogacy, gestational surrogacy

Goodbye Thailand & India – Mexico is the New Surrogacy Hotspot?

Goodbye Thailand & India – Mexico is the New Surrogacy Hotspot?

With the options for Intended Parents dwindling in Thailand and India and the cost in the US too high for many, Mexico is stepping into the void. With its beautiful weather and lax laws, specifically in Tabasco where altruistic gestational surrogacy has been legal since 1998, parents are now venturing to our southern neighbor.

Unfortunately, the laws in Mexico are not as strict as they are here in the State of California. And, according to articles in both the Guardian and Bioedge, these lack of laws and regulations make this area ripe for fraud and deception. So, what is one to do? Well, honestly, no one should ever want to create their family in a legal grey area where there is so much to risk. However, by doing your homework and meeting with a reproductive lawyer specializing in this unique area of law – and Mexico, you can work together to decrease your chances of risking it all when creating your family.

Keywords

surrogacy, surrogate, gestational surrogate, reproductive lawyer, surrogacy attorney, gestational surrogacy

Links

http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/11163#.VCfr0UdandQ.email

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/25/tales-of-missing-money-stolen-eggs-surrogacy-mexico

International Surrogacy Takes Another Hit

A report of another abandoned child is creating more debate in the country of Australia, and it appears that the Australian High Commission in New Delhi was aware of the situation.

 

ABC news uncovered news of the case, which goes back to 2012, has created quite a stir with officials calling for a national inquiry into international surrogacy.

 

“A joint investigation by ABC News and Foreign Correspondent can reveal the case involves a set of twins born in India via a surrogate to Australians who had gone through a surrogacy agency.

 

Chief Justice Bryant says consular officials revealed to her there was pressure from Australia to provide a visa to allow them to return one baby to Australia, as the commissioning parents did not want both babies.

 

It is understood the choice of baby was based on gender.”

 

The case comes to light after the media released a similar story back in August of this year about Baby Gammy, a baby boy with Down syndrome, who had been left behind in Thailand by his Australian parents.

 

The Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court, John Pascoe, has called for a national inquiry into surrogacy.

 

Links:

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-08/high-commission-knew-of-surrogacy-case-in-india/5799438

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-12/advocates-call-for-commercial-surrogacy-to-be-legalised/5666206

 

Keywords:

 

Baby Gammy, Thailand surrogacy, India surrogacy, Australian surrogacy, surrogate mother, surrogacy, surrogate, commissioning parents

Hawaii IVF Coverage on the Forefront with Legislators

Well, it is about time – maybe California and the rest of the country should step up and follow Hawaii’s recent legislative amendment filed earlier this year?

While recognizing that infertility is indeed a disability, legislators have set forth new legislation that provides greater coverage for women who have been diagnosed with infertility, while also removing many limiting requirements listed in a previous law. Although Hawaii has been providing IVF coverage for 1 cycle since 1987, the result has limited many from utilizing it by requiring such items as a five, yes a five-year, wait. Legislators apparently realized that this long wait does not help anyone; in fact, a five-year wait can be a death sentence to a woman’s fertility.

Here is the proposed purpose behind the Act itself:

“The purpose of this Act is to provide in vitro fertilization insurance coverage equality for women who are diagnosed with infertility by requiring non-discriminatory coverage and ensuring quality of care in the diagnosis and

treatment of infertility.”

Keywords

IVF, egg donation, IVF cycle, infertility, fertility, IVF doctor, IVF physician, Hawaii State Senate, ASRM

Links

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/SB2909_SD1_.pdf

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2355&year=2014