CHINA DECLARES WAR ON SURROGACY

According to the Official Chinese News Agency, Xinhua News Agency, China will be starting a large-scale campaign involving several government run agencies in order to crack down on the illegal surrogacy industry.

As surrogacy is strictly banned in China, this recent news is clearly not a surprise to many here and overseas.

According to Xinhua,

The nine-month campaign will last until the end of this year and will involve 12 government departments focusing on spotting and punishing medical personnel and intermediary agencies that help perform surrogate pregnancy services, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) announced Thursday.

Internet website, TV, radio and print media that carry surrogacy ads will also be cleansed, while the authorities will step up supervision over the sale and circulation of assisted reproductive technology (ART) drugs and medical equipment, it said.

Links: http://www.globalpost.com/article/6510627/2015/04/09/china-crack-down-surrogacy-industry

Keywords: surrogacy, international surrogacy, China surrogacy, children via surrogacy, surrogate, surrogacy industry, Xinhua News Agency

Poland to Become Last Country in EU to Legislate IVF

In an area where ambiguity is dangerous, Poland has finally decided to legislate IVF practices despite the procedures being available for the last 25 years. There is no clarity as to why this change is happening now, although there has been recent news of a woman who was wrongly implanted with the embryo fertilized by her husband but with another woman’s egg. Despite this case, it is a good sign for the citizens of Poland that legislation is in the works.

According to the BioNews,

‘The current lack of a legal framework for IVF is morally ambiguous and, from a medical standpoint, potentially dangerous,’ said Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz.

Drafted by ruling centre-right party, Civic Platform, the Bill has been seen by some as a move to attract voters ahead of a general election later in 2015. The majority of Poles are reportedly in favour of IVF for married couples, but Reuters indicates that Ms Kopacz may have to look outside her party for support on passing the new laws as a threat from more conservatives backbenchers could overrule it.

If the legislation passes, it would allow married and cohabiting couples access to the procedure after 12 months of trying to conceive. The age limit is likely to be capped at 35 for women. And, as it stands, spare embryos left unused for 20 years may not be destroyed.

Links: http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/195727,IVF-mother-gives-birth-to-another-womans-child-in-mixup

http://www.bionews.org.uk/page.asp?obj_id=506554&PPID=507013&sid=580

Keywords: IVF, IVF legislation, Poland IVF, children via IVF, surrogacy, surrogate, embryo mix-up, IVF mistake, IVF law, spare embryos

Single Man in UK Uses Own Mother as Surrogate – Court Approves Adoption

A single man in the UK has won High Court approval of his surrogacy arrangement with his own mother, who effectively carried her own grandchild. Certainly, in this case, if the woman who carried you were good enough to carry you, then why would she not be for your own child?

According to the Daily Mail,

In a procedure believed to be a world first, a fertility clinic arranged the woman’s pregnancy using a donor egg and her son’s sperm.

She offered to have the baby – with her husband’s consent – after plans by their son to have an IVF child with another female relative collapsed.

The extraordinary arrangement emerged when a High Court judge ruled that the son can now adopt the baby boy and become his legal father – even though in the eyes of the law he is also the infant’s brother.

However, the move was met with howls of protest by critics, who described the procedure as ‘dubious’ and called for urgent reforms to prevent abuses of fertility law.

What are your thoughts on this arrangement? Is it a perfect solution? Or, is it an abuse of fertility law as some are saying?

The Justice added the following,

Mrs Justice Theis, who did not identify the family, the clinic or the local authority in the area where they live, said: ‘The arrangement the parties entered into is not one, as far as I am aware, that either this court or the clinic have previously encountered and although highly unusual is entirely lawful under the relevant statutory provisions.’…

The baby, now seven months old, was born at full term and now lives with his father. However the judge warned others not to embark on surrogacy deals without ‘comprehensive legal advice’ because the process is a ‘legal minefield’.

Mrs Justice Theis said that under the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which governs surrogacy arrangements, the woman who carried the child is the legal mother. Her husband is the legal father because he consented to the pregnancy.

Rules stipulate that a surrogate mother must hand over a child to two parents – usually a couple ‘in an enduring family relationship’. Under the law, it would be a crime to hand over the baby to the biological father alone.

But the judge argued that the adoption would not break laws because the baby and its father are legally related already as brothers. Social workers backed the adoption, saying it would ‘strengthen the bond’ the father and child already share’.

Links: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2978232/Woman-gives-birth-son-s-IVF-baby-wins-right-adopt-child-brother.html

Keywords: surrogacy, surrogate, UK surrogacy, adoption, surrogate mother, gestational surrogacy, child via surrogacy

Baby Gammy Case Forces Thailand to Outlaw Commercial Surrogacy for Foreigners

Baby Gammy has been a topic on this blog for some time, and now the fallout from this case and several others has created a new law in Thailand. Thailand’s military-picked legislature passed a law that effectively criminalizes commercial surrogacy and prohibits foreigners from seeking surrogacy services.

According to the Associated Press,

The law, which prohibits the act of hiring women commercially to carry fetuses to term, aims to stop Thailand from being a surrogacy hub for foreign couples, or from becoming "the wombs of the world," National Legislative Assembly member Wanlop Tangkananurak told The Associated Press on Friday.

"Surrogacy business leaves too much long-term trouble for Thailand, so we are banning foreign couples from seeking surrogacy in our country to avoid being a hub and to prevent what we saw last year," Wanlop said.

The parliament voted 160 to 2 to pass the law Thursday night.

Baby Gammy and the case involving a Japanese man who fathered at least 16 babies via Thai surrogates has caused this knee jerk reaction in a country that has long been seen as a favorable climate for surrogacy. Under the new law, a Thai couple is allowed to seek a surrogate to carry the fetus only if they are able to prove that they are infertile. A couple with one Thai spouse seeking surrogacy must be married for at least three years.

It also says that anyone involved in commercial surrogacy will face a maximum jail term of 10 years and a maximum fine of 200,000 baht ($6,100).

Links: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31546717 & http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/thailand-bans-commercial-surrogacy-foreigners-thais-29095170

Keywords: surrogacy, surrogate, commercial surrogacy, Thailand surrogacy, Thai surrogacy, Baby Gammy, surrogate mother, gestational surrogacy, child via surrogacy

Britain Permits the World’s First “Three Parent” Embryos

Britain voted on Tuesday to become the first country to allow a "three-parent" IVF technique which doctors say will prevent some inherited incurable diseases but which critics see as a step towards creating designer babies.

The medical treatment is known as "three-parent" in vitro fertilization (IVF) because the babies would have DNA from a mother, a father and from a female donor. Because of the modification of these embryos is so controversial, many religious and ethical groups are up in arms over this technique. On the other hand, the benefit outweighs the risks for so many others:

“The process involves intervening in the fertilization process to remove mitochondria, which act as tiny energy-generating batteries inside cells, and which, if faulty, can cause inherited conditions such as fatal heart problems, liver failure, brain disorders, blindness and muscular dystrophy.

Mitochondrial DNA is separate from DNA found in the cell nucleus and does not affect human characteristics such as hair or eye colour, appearance or personality traits.

I wouldn’t stand here and defend the concept of designer babies — choosing the color of the eyes and all the rest of it. This is about purely dealing with those terrible, terrible illnesses," opposition Labor lawmaker Andrew Miller, chair of parliament’s science and technology committee, told the debate.”

Proposed new laws allowing the treatments to be carried out in Britain still have to be approved by the upper house, which commentators expect to endorse parliament’s support.

Links:

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/02/03/britain-votes-to-allow-world-first-three-parent-ivf-babies/

Keywords: IVF, IVF doctor, British Parliament, designer babies, inherited diseases, “three parent” IVF, “three parent” embryos, intended parents, DNA, genetically modified embryos, fertility, infertility

Italian Surrogacy Update from the European Court of Human Rights

As we discussed previously, an Italian couple that had gone to Russia to create their family via surrogacy had their child taken from them when they returned home. It occurred when they came back and requested that the Italian General Registry Office register the Russian civil registry birth document.

This request was rejected, however, since the Italian authorities verified that there was no biological link between parents and the baby. Moreover, mistrusting the couple’s identity and intentions, they removed the baby from his parents, giving him up for adoption to another family.

In recent news, a judgment has come down from the European Court of Human Rights that has determined that Italy did indeed violate the Article 8 of the Convention, which is the right to privacy including one’s family life. The Court further condemned Italy for having taken away the child without evidence of serious harm to the child.

Unfortunately, this Court’s judgment does not force the Italian authorities to give the baby back to this couple since they have to consider the deep bond he has since developed with his new family. The likely outcome will be an obligation for the Italian state to compensation the couple for this violation.

Sad news and a sad outcome for everyone.

Links:

http://www.west-info.eu/surrogacy-does-not-cancel-the-right-to-have-babies-italy-condemned-by-echr/

Keywords: surrogacy, surrogate, Russian surrogacy, Italian surrogacy, parental rights, surrogate mother, gestational surrogate, California surrogacy, child via surrogacy, European Court of Human Rights

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California Passes New Law Further Protecting Same-Sex Parents via Surrogacy

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that will allow same-sex parents more options to identify their relationship with their child on their child’s birth certificate. Currently, parents are required to select “Mother/Parent” and “Father/Parent.”

Assembly Bill 1951 will change the format of the child’s birth certificate so the line for the parents’ names will the choice of “Mother,” “Father,” or “Parent.”

This law will go into effect January 2016. Same-sex couples that currently have children will be able to update their child’s birth certificate to the new format starting Jan 2016. Again, California is on the cutting edge of protecting the rights of both the parents and their children.

Links:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB1951

Keywords: surrogacy, surrogate, same-sex surrogacy, parental rights, surrogate mother, gestational surrogate, California surrogacy, child via surrogacy, birth certificate, California legislature, Governor Jerry Brown, AB 1951

Germany Issues Parents’ Parental Rights via Surrogacy

On December 10, 2014, a landmark court decision was made by Bundesgerichtshof, the German Federal Court of Justice, which has given legal recognition to a California surrogacy judgment of parentage. The decision states that the intended parents who are the legal parents to a child born of a surrogate mother must be recognized in Germany.

This is a groundbreaking decision as Germany has always been against granting parental rights to parents via surrogacy. In fact, it orders German public authorities to validate foreign decisions on family status and follows the ruling in the European Court of Human Rights decision in the judgment of Mennesson v. France and Labassee v. France.

In this particular case, a child was born to a gay couple from Berlin. They had a son born through the use of a gestational surrogate in California in 2010. In the US, the California Superior Court formally declared both men as the child’s legal parents; however, they were not afforded the same recognition when they returned home to Germany.

The Court effectively ruled that, in the interest of the ‘child’s welfare’ and consistency of care, the foreign authority’s decision in the matter must be respected.

The decision will certainly have an impact on both same-sex and opposite-sex couples in Germany, but particularly for gay couples, who continue to lobby for joint adoption rights in the country. And, this ruling will effectively also open the doors for parents who want to create their family via surrogacy in the United States.

Links:

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/germany-rules-gay-dads-surrogate-children-will-be-recognized-co-parents301214

http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng-press/pages/search.aspx?i=003-4804617-5854908#{%22itemid%22:[object 0]}

Keywords: surrogacy, surrogate, German surrogacy, parental rights, surrogate mother, gestational surrogate, California surrogacy, child via surrogacy, gay surrogacy

Italian Court Takes Parental Rights Away from Parents via Surrogacy

In a case that has shocked many here in the United States, the Italian Supreme Court has stripped a couple of their parental rights over their child born via surrogacy. As we all know surrogacy is illegal in Italy, regardless of where the child is born. In this case, when the parents attempted to register their child born in the Ukraine without a mother being listed on the birth certificate, they were denied. A court case followed, and that court has decided that the child must be put up for adoption.

According to the news source AFP:

The couple from northern Italy, both in their fifties and infertile, had been turned down three times in their bid to adopt a child before they turned to surrogacy.

They paid 25,000 euros ($31,150) to a surrogate mother in Ukraine, who refused to give her name when the baby was born in 2011, leaving the birth certificate blank.

When the couple returned to Italy and tried to register the boy at the registry office, they were charged with fraud, La Stampa daily said, without providing details on how the would-be parents were found out.

Despite a request from the prosecution to leave the child in the Italian couple s care, the court decided that the "child of no-one" — whose mother cannot be traced — must be put up for adoption.

The ultimate lesson here is that surrogacy is not something to take lightly without making certain you cover all of your bases when returning home with your child. Had this couple came here to California for surrogacy, they would have had their own names placed directly on their child’s birth certificate. In that situation this story would have likely ended much differently than what these parents are now dealing with at home.

Links:

http://dunyanews.tv/index.php/en/Crime/244962-Italy-couple-cannot-keep-child-born-to-surrogate-m

Keywords: surrogacy, surrogate, Ukraine surrogacy, Italian surrogacy, parental rights, surrogate mother, gestational surrogate, California surrogacy, child via surrogacy

Actor Jason Patric Declared Legal Parent of Child Created via Sperm Donation by California Court

In what has been a two-year battle for actor Jason Patric, he has now been declared the legal father of his son, Gus, who was born to Patric’s ex Danielle Schreiber using his sperm donation.

In fact, the case has a long interesting history:

In February 2013, the actor lost a court battle to gain visitation rights with Gus under a California law that grants the mother full custody in the absence of a written agreement establishing parental rights before conception.

And, at that time, Patric was denied any custody or visitation of his son.

Back in May, California appeals court judge Thomas Willhite said that the presumption against in-vitro fathers shouldn’t be ‘so categorical,’ and that the family law code ‘does not preclude a donor from establishing that he is a presumed father’.

Patric and Schreiber, who had dated off and on for about 10 years, split for good in June 2012 – 19 months after Gus was born.

He filed a paternity claim shortly thereafter.

The actor has been forbidden by Schreiber, who currently is the sole legal parent, from seeing Gus for more than a year. Patric is now seeking full custody of little Gus in a high-profile case that has raised serious questions about the parental rights of sperm donors.

Glad to see the court get this one right and secure his rights as a father.

Links:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2819881/Jason-Patric-declared-legal-parent-four-year-old-son-conceived-vitro-ex-girlfriend-following-two-year-court-battle.html

Keywords: sperm donation, sperm donor, sperm donation laws, Jason Patric, Gus, Danielle Schreiber, California Family Code