Adoption – Your Forever Home

About Town Deb Presents City Talk: Adoption - Your Forever Home

Say hello to my first sponsor, and guest of this week's #CityTalk, Kimberly Surratt of Surratt Law Practice! November is #NationalAdoptionMonth, and to raise awareness, I will be chatting with Kim about all things adoption. ūüĎ®‚ÄćūüĎ©‚ÄćūüĎß Kim has been working in Family Law for 16 years and it has grown into her passion. Starting in 2004, with her first surrogacy matter, she has immersed herself in assisted reproduction law, surrogacies, and adoption. ūüĎ®‚ÄćūüĎ®‚Äćūü϶

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2020 Adoption Tax Credit

Happy couple with little adopted children eating popcorn while watching TV at home

By Kimberly Surratt, Esq.

If you are thinking about pursuing an adoption, make sure you start to start and document all of your expenses related to the process.  In the United States tax code provides an adoption credit for qualified adoption related expenses for each child adoption.  The IRS just released the 2020 adjusted through their Revenue Procedure 2019-44 report.  The maximum tax credit allowed in 2020 is set at $14,300 per child (in 2019 is was $14,080 and $13,810 in 2018).  In addition to a credit, the IRS does allow an exclusion from income for employer provided adoption assistance.

The tax credit is available for must adoptive parents.  However, the credit is not available if the taxpayer’s income exceeds certain values set by the code.  The tax credit begins to phase out for families with modified adjusted gross income in excess of $214,520 and is completely phased out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income of $254,520 or more.  The credit is nonrefundable but can be carried forward for up to five years.

The code states that the credit is allowed for ‚Äúan adoption of a child with special needs‚ÄĚ; however, the adoption can be either through private domestic private adoption, international adoption or through the foster care system so long as the child is under the age of 18, or is physically or mentally incapable of self-care.¬† In contrast, the adoption of your stepchild does not qualify as ‚Äúspecial needs‚ÄĚ.¬† The IRS has specifically declared that an adoption by a registered domestic partner who lives in a state that allows same-sex second parent or co-parent to adopt his or her partner‚Äôs child does qualify for the credit, as long as those expenses otherwise qualify for the credit.

The expenses that can be used for the credit and the exclusion (the ‚Äúqualified adoption expenses‚ÄĚ) are:

  • Reasonable and necessary adoption fees,
  • Court Costs and attorney fees,
  • Traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging while away from home), and
  • Other expenses that are directly related to and for the principal purpose of the legal adoption of an eligible child.

In summary, keep all your receipts and track you any money spent in the process.  The IRS doesn’t require you to have a child identified before the expenses can be used.  Thus, if you start the process and you have had a home study, but you have not been matched with a child you will still be able to use the cost of the home study for your tax credit.  There are extensive rules about what year you can take the credit and they vary based on a domestic adoption versus a foreign adoption.  For more information, the IRS has a published report, Topic No. 607 that lists all of the intricacies to the credit.

State Insurance for Surrogates Bill Passes Thanks to Local Attorney Kimberly Surratt

Focus on pregnant woman touching her belly. Happy married couple are sitting on sofa and embracing on background. Surrogacy concept

Kimberly Surratt, Northern Nevada, Reno surrogate lawyerInsurance companies in Nevada can no longer discriminate against a woman for acting as a gestational carrier (aka surrogate) when it comes to health insurance.  In the 2019 Nevada Legislative Session, Kimberly Surratt requested a bill to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against surrogates.  Assemblywoman Bea Duran (Democrat, Las Vegas) sheparded AB 472 through the legislative process and worked to ensure its passage.  The bill received significant support from the Nevada Justice Association, the Nevada Association of Health Plans and the Nevada State Medical Association.

The bill passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously.  The new law is effective January 1, 2020.  The new law provides that an insurer offering or issuing health insurance in Nevada including coverage for maternity care shall not deny, limit or seek reimbursement for maternity care because the insured is acting as a gestational carrier.

In 2013, Nevada became a nationwide force in Assisted Reproductive Technology Law when Ms. Surratt and Assemblyman Jason Frierson worked together to pass comprehensive statutes modernizing Nevada’s Assisted Reproductive Technology law.  That law provided for  Surrogacy/Gestational Carrier agreements.  Since then, because some insurance companies declined to cover surrogacy pregnancies, Nevada has seen surrogacy numbers decline.  For individuals shopping for insurance coverage in the individual marketplace in 2019, there were no  options for Nevada women choosing the path of surrogacy.

Ms. Surratt asked the Nevada Legislature to help assure that an insurer may not decline coverage of routine maternity services because the insured woman is acting as a surrogate for another family.  During the process, Sarah Paige of ART Risk Financial & Insurance Solutions was enlisted to provide expert testimony on the issue.  Ms. Paige testified that Nevada went from one of the most progressive States for reproductive law to a State with more challenges because of the limited insurance options.

Getting the bill passed was difficult.¬† No other State has similar legislation for Nevada to model.¬† Instead, ¬†a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision interpreting the Affordable Care Act (‚ÄúACA‚ÄĚ) was used as guidance in testimony and discussions with the Legislators.¬† Mercycare Insurance Co. v. Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance held that excluding surrogates from maternity care was discrimination because it excluded some women from coverage based on how conception occurred.¬† The insurance commissioner in Wisconsin¬†stated that the inquiry of insurance companies into how a woman conceived was "intensely personal."¬† He stated, "to give an insurer license to inquire into why a woman is pregnant or whether she intends to keep her baby would be improper."¬† The¬†Wisconsin¬†Supreme Court found that "An insurer may not make routine maternity services that are generally covered under the policy unavailable to a specific subgroup of insureds, surrogate mothers, based solely on the insured's reasons for becoming pregnant or the method used to achieve pregnancy."

Additionally, the ACA mandates maternity care.  Opponents to the bill initially argued that the ACA doesn’t mandate maternity care for surrogates.  We were steady in our position, with critical assistance from Sarah Paige, that the ACA mandates maternity care for all women without an exclusion for women who are pregnant as a surrogate.

During the legislative process, a concern was raised that the Nevada bill would add an additional mandate on Nevada insurers.  The Nevada Division of Insurance ultimately agreed with Ms. Surratt and Ms. Paige that it was not additional but rather an already mandated benefit that needed to be applied equally to all insureds.  This was significant because consequently the bill did not include a fiscal note.

The passage of this bill is significant for Nevada.  Even if the ACA is modified or eliminated, Nevada insurers will still be required to cover an insured when she is acting as a surrogate.

The new law also states that an insurer cannot seek reimbursement for maternity care provided to an insured acting as a surrogate.  In other words, insurers cannot rely on subrogation or a lien on the surrogate or the intended parents to circumvent the intent of the statute by going after a surrogate’s compensation.

Although public entities are not required under the new law to cover maternity care for surrogates, many of these entities currently cover an insured’s maternity care without discrimination.  Public entities may continue to cover an insured’s maternity care without inquiry into why she is pregnant.

Unfortunately, the law does not require an insurer to cover reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization, only the costs of prenatal care and delivery equally to any woman who is pregnant whether she is carrying her own child, or another family’s child.

There isn’t a reason why other States can not now follow suite

Deciding Between Surrogacy and Adoption

Happy interracial family playing on floor

By: Kim Surratt, Esq.

It is common for our clients to have gone through heartbreaking stories of infertility.  They spend years trying infertility treatments.  They pour their hearts and money into treatment after treatment to no success.  Each and every time that a treatment fails, our clients experience a grieving period. They have the procedure and then wait to see if it worked. Over and over again. It is exhausting, physically on woman’s body, and emotionally on the couple.

During each waiting period, ‚Äúbaby fever‚ÄĚ would set in and they shop for baby items.¬† However, the baby fever wears off and it turns to a fear of shopping for baby items.¬† They become bitter and slowly they decide to discontinue treatments and to stop pouring money into infertility treatments as they are mentally and financially exhausted from the process.

Most of our clients say that they want children, no matter the circumstances. It is an overwhelming power in the core of a person that says ‚ÄúI want to be a parent.‚Ä̬† They believe love for a child is unconditional and it does not matter to them whether the child was birthed by them, birthed by a third party or adopted.¬† They believe that they would love them all the same. ¬†¬†Yes, they are still drawn to the idea of genetics.¬† They are drawn to knowing their child will have characteristics similar to them.

These parents are often presented with the idea of surrogacy by their fertility doctor.   However, they are more familiar with the concept of adoption as it is a better understood concept in society.  They have to research both options and try to weigh the pros and cons of each, knowing that they just pray they will be parents one day.  Sometimes our job is to help them weigh the pros and cons to make a decision between adoption and surrogacy.

Obviously, an adopted child is not genetically that of the adoptive parents.  That is an easy differentiation to make between the two options and if the potential parents are set on having a genetically related child, then they have no choice but to look at surrogacy.

If genetics isn’t a selling point for the potential parents, then the next weighing point is the fear of the potential parents that the process will fail and they will not have a child as a result of the adoption process.  The risk tolerance level of the potential parents can easily be traced back to how many failed fertility treatments they have had in the past and their exhaustion level.

In surrogacy, if the surrogate achieves a pregnancy then there is a guarantee under Nevada and California law, if they followed the requirements of the law for a surrogacy, that a court of law will find that the intended parents are the legal parents of the child, not the surrogate.  The risk comes from whether the surrogate can get pregnant or not.  There is a failure rate associated with the process.  It is better explained by the doctors than by the lawyers.  However, the rate of success is controlled by things such as great screening of the surrogate, both physically and mentally, and the doctors use of a high-quality embryo.

In adoption, the risk of failure is high.  If the potential parents are looking at adopting an infant then they can sit on waiting lists for significant periods of time before birth mothers match with them.

Even after a match, the birth parents have a time period within which to revoke consent, usually 48 to 72 hours after birth, unless the they are in a state that follows the Uniform Adoption Act that gives eight days after birth for revocation of consent.¬†¬† It is a devastating blow to the potential adoptive parents that mimics the effects of failed fertility treatment in which there is a build up and excitement of ‚Äúbaby fever‚ÄĚ with no child in the end.¬† Another route to adoption is foster-to-adopt in which the potential parents become foster parents with the hope of adopting.¬† In those cases, the same buildup and disappoint that happens in infertility happens here.¬† A child is placed with the foster parents for a significant amount of time, but reunification of the child with their family is always the goal.¬† The children may be removed from the foster parents versus being made available for adoption.¬† The roller coaster feelings that happened during infertility come back into play.

There is nothing easy about this decision.  However, we find that parents who have not endured the exhaustion of infertility treatments tend to fair better in the adoption process.  They have the endurance and stamina to hang in there.  The adoption process can be incredibly rewarding.  However, if you are already exhausted from the roller coaster ride of infertility you may want to take a hard look at surrogacy as an option.

No matter what your journey Рseek help!  Don’t do it on your own!  There are many people in the same boat as you with experience to share.  You can learn a lot in a one-hour meeting with an experienced attorney.  Our firm is here for you.  We give parentage advice all the time.  It is our goal to help you make the right decision for you.

The Disposition of Genetically Stored Material

by Amy S. Hodgson, ACP

The Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, section 1271, regulates human cells, tissues, and cellular and tissue-based products. The purpose was to establish donor eligibility, current good tissue practice, and other procedures to prevent the introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases. This included oocyte (egg) donations, and semen donations for use in assisted reproductive technology cases.

For those seeking to become parents and unable to conceive a child naturally, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a logical next step.

During IVF, mature eggs are collected from the ovaries, and are fertilized by sperm in a lab. When prospective parents use IVF, many of them hope to generate more embryos than they intend to implant immediately. The technology often requires multiple attempts to reach a successful pregnancy, and couples can cryopreserve any excess embryos so that they have them on hand for later attempts.

But what happens to the cryopreserved eggs/sperm/ embryos during divorce?

Given the lengthy duration of cryopreservation, many courts in the U.S. face a recurring problem: the partners dissolve their relationship, and one party wants to use the frozen embryos over the objections of the other. Courts and legislatures have struggled with how to handle these cases, which seem to pit one partner’s right to procreate against the other’s right not to procreate.

The first case to consider the disposition of disputed embryos in a divorce was Davis v. Davis (TN 1992), wherein the Supreme Court of Tennessee decided a dispute over cryopreserved pre-embryos. The parties had not signed any written agreement regarding disposition of their embryos at the time they underwent IVF. In the absence of a prior agreement, the Tennessee Supreme Court balanced the parties‚Äô conflicting constitution interests in procreation ‚Äď Wife‚Äôs right to procreate and Husband‚Äôs right not to procreate. The court ultimately decided in favor of Husband, in part relying on the possibility of Wife achieving parenthood through another cycle of IVF or through adoption. The court went on to say these disputes should be resolved according to the preferences of the embryos‚Äô progenitors, if prior agreement exists, and only in the absence of an agreement should a court balance the parties‚Äô interests, and in most cases, the party wishing to avoid procreation would prevail.

The law recognizes every person’s right to control his or her future precreation. This right severely limits the government’s ability to prevent a woman from aborting her pregnancy, prevents the government from controlling an individual’s medical choices, and prevents courts from intermeddling in private parties’ procreational decisions. The law, however, has always limited the ability to contract by refusing to enforce agreements that violate public policy or intrude on domestic courts’ decision making authority regarding children.

In Re Marriage of Dahl and Angel, 194 P.3d 834 (Or. Ct. App. 2008), the appellate court found that frozen embryos are ‚ÄúPersonal Property‚ÄĚ in the context of a dissolution of marriage. The court further found that absent a countervailing policy, it was just and proper to dispose of the embryos in the manner the parties chose at the time they underwent IVF.

In July 2012, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws approved and recommended that states adopt the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act. This Act not only regulates property and money issues in the drafting of premarital and marital agreements, but also expressly recognized that there may be agreements on ‚Äúcustodial responsibility.‚ÄĚ This term includes child custody, child support, and child creation. Under the Act, such agreements would not bind the courts because parents and prospective parents do not have the power to waive the rights of their current or future children or to remove the jurisdiction or duty of the courts to protect the best interest of minor children.

A progenitor dying and leaving genetically stored material poses its own issues, leaving his children and other heirs with the unwanted task of deciding what to do. If the heirs determine to maintain the genetically stored material or agree to the transfer of the embryo in hopes of creating a child, inheritance issues can add to the challenge. Under the Social Security Act, a posthumously conceived child’s right to inherit under the applicable state’s intestacy statute is dispositive of that child’s right to receive Social Security Benefits. If a child qualifies for intestate succession under the applicable state law, that child can receive Social Security benefits through a deceased wage earning parent.

However, state legislatures have failed to keep pace with scientific development and only 11 states sufficiently address how to resolve issues dipositive of whether a posthumously conceived child can inherit under intestate succession.

These issues can be avoided if the progenitor addresses the following issues:

  1. Whether stored genetic material can be used for procreation after decedent’s death;
  2. Whether any posthumous children should have any inheritance rights;
  3. Who should have control, authority, and possession over the stored genetic material;
  4. Whether the estate will pay for ongoing storage fees;
  5. Whether trust funds can be properly used for storage payment, fertility treatment, support of competing beneficiaries;
  6. How long should the decedent’s estate be kept open to deal with after born children;
  7. Who is an heir or distribute under intestacy;
  8. Who is included in any class of gifts.

Some medical providers are including a dispositional agreement in their informed consent documents at the beginning of the IVF process. However, asking couples to determine what should be done with the embryos if they die, become disabled, or choose to divorce adds yet another layer of information that can be difficult to process or thoughtfully evaluate. These couples are often emotionally distraught about their fertility challenges and are focused solely on having a baby. Asking them to think about their mortality or future marital problems could lead to psychological overload and a glossing over of the import of the information that is being conveyed.

There is a proposal that new legislation require couples to come to an agreement on the disposition of embryos before they can begin any IVF procedures. Such laws would allow courts to honor the parties’ intentions manifested in their agreement and to apply the clear foundational principles of contract law in the event of a dispute regarding terms or intent.

Until a clear legal consensus emerges on the issue, individuals cannot have any reasonable expectations about their legal rights when it comes to cryopreserved embryos.

National LGBT Bar Association Conference

Kim Surratt is participating in the National LGBT Bar Association Conference in Washington DC this week.  She is at the Family Law Institute right now.  She will be speaking at both the Family Law Institute and at Lavendar Law on assisted reproductive technology matters.

Surrogacy in the UK

It is very important for Intended Parents from the UK who are utilizing a surrogate/gestational carrier in the United States to follow specific instructions.  I have written a blog on this issue in the past.  However, there is a new decision in the UK that helps explain what is needed and explain what the though process is for a Judge in the UK.  The decision can be found at ttp://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2013/2408.html.

The following analysis was processed in the case:

  • There must be a¬†biological connection between the child and one of the intended parents.
  • The carrier can not be biologically related to the child.
  • The court assessed the status of the applicant‚Äôs (the intended parents)¬†relationship, considering that they had been in a relationship for ten years and married eight years.
  • The application must be issued within six months after the child‚Äôs birth.
  • The child must be in the care of the applicants at the time the application was made and at the time that the court is considering the order and at least one of the applicants must be domiciled in the UK.
  • The applicants must be over the age of 18.
  • The gestational carrier and her husband must give unconditional consent to the application.¬† The consent should be given freely and with full understanding of what is involved.¬†¬†¬† The carrier‚Äôs consent should be more than six weeks after the child‚Äôs birth.¬† The court bolstered the argument that there was consent by acknowledging¬†that there was also agreement by the gestational carrier and her husband to a pre-birth order and that there was the original surrogacy agreement entered into.
  • The court found that the child‚Äôs welfare was best met with a parental order.¬† What is interesting is that the a ‚ÄúParental Order Reporter‚ÄĚ had to investigate the matter on behalf of the court.¬† It is really a ‚Äúhome study‚ÄĚ as we see it in the United States and it required consideration under the UK‚Äôs Adoption and Children Act 2002.¬† The paramount consideration is the lifelong welfare of the child.¬† What this says to me is that the Court could find the intended parents to not be suitable parents and still deny the parentage.¬† The investigator set out her professional judgment in the case as follows:¬† ‚ÄúC[hild] is living in a home environment where he is cherished and loved.¬† There are no concerns that he is at risk of harm in the care of [the intended parents] and, in my view, it is in his best interests to remain in their care.¬† It would be beneficial to C[hild] that his parents are willing to talk openly about his origins.‚Ä̬† I am blown away by the last statement.¬† While I do not disagree with it I am shocked it was part of the record and even considered as a recommendation.
  • The last consideration for the¬†court was that it must be satisfied that no money or other benefit, other than for expenses reasonably incurred, has been given or received by either of the applicants for, or in consideration of, the making of the order, any agreement to be in a relationship/married, the handing over of the child to the applicants, or the making of any arrangement buy proscar in uk with the view to the making of the order unless authorized by the court.¬†¬†¬† This was probably the biggest risk in this Case for failure.¬† The Court assessed that compensation was paid to the gestational carrier, her¬†expenses were reimbursed, an agency fee was paid, an egg donor payment was made, and payment were made for medical treatment.¬† The two payments the court found questionable were the payments to the gestational carrier and her husband that were not for identifiable expenses and the agency fee.¬† The court found that the agency fee was partially for the agencies expenses but it could not identify how much.¬† To determine if the court is to authorize payments such as these, the court must look at a number of factors:¬† Was the sum paid disproportionate to reasonable expenses?¬† Were the applicants acting in good faith and without moral taint?¬† Were the applicants‚Äô party to any attempt to defraud the authorities?¬† The court was satisfied that the payments in this case should be authorized.¬† The¬†Court was¬†satisfied¬†that the sums which were paid were not disproportionate to the reasonable expenses even with a compensation value (the payments the court did not believe were for expenses reasonably incurred) of $51,200.¬†¬†The court found that the $51,200¬†did not overbear the will of the surrogate and were not of such a level to be an affront to public policy. They were payments permitted in the jurisdiction in which they were made, and were¬†not too dissimilar to payments made in similar cases. The Court found that the information on carrier demonstrated that she was¬† altruistically motivated to become a surrogate mother and to assist the intended parents to¬†have a much wanted child.¬† She had been a surrogate before and had the benefit of detailed prior discussions and legal advice before entering into the agreement with the applicants and had a clear understanding of the process and issues involved. She formed a positive relationship with the applicants and she wholeheartedly supports the applicants‚Äô wish to be treated as the child‚Äôs¬†parents.¬†¬† The court was also moved that the intended parents acted in good faith in their involvement with the authorities, followed all US requirements, followed all UK requirements,¬†and furnishing the court with all the information which it required. The finding was that there was¬†no ‚Äėmoral taint‚Äô in the applicants‚Äô dealings with the respondents or with the authorities.¬† It is also clear from the applicants‚Äô statements that the surrogacy arrangement was entered into with care and thought and in respect of a much-wanted child, and does not represent the simple buying of a child overseas.

This is a relief!!!!!  I never though that such a high compensation value would pass muster in the UK.  We will have to reach out to our UK counterparts such as Natalie Gamble to determine how this decision sets the tone in the UK.  Will other Judges come to the same decision?  Is this a consistent decision?   I will seek a guest blog entry from Ms. Gamble and keep you informed!

Adoption Tax Credit Survives the ‚ÄúFiscal Cliff‚ÄĚ

A compromise was reached and the President signed the ‚ÄúFiscal Cliff‚ÄĚ bill today, January 2, 2013, which had a provision for th eAdoption Tax Credit.¬† The new law makes the Adoption Tax Credit a permanent part of the Internal REvenue Code.¬† In the past, the Adoption Tax Credit was not permanent and it included a sunset provision that caused it to ‚Äúexpire‚ÄĚ for lack of a better term.

The Adoption Tax Credit best generic proscar allows families to claim a tax deduction for their adoption expenses.  Adoption experts around the country had pushed for it to be a refundable tax credit but that fature did not survive negotiations and the bill was passed withoiut the refundanble language as a compromise.  The tax credit is claimed to be a benefit of billions of dollars to families who will adopt in the future.

IVF BABIES DENIED U.S. CITIZENSHIP

A U.S. citizen, Ellie Lavi, utilized IVF at a fertility clinice to get preganant, see USA Today article dated March 20, 2012. When she gave birth she was oversees in Tel Aviv. She then applied for U.S. citizenship for her children at the U.S. Embassy and was todl that her children were not eligible for citizenship unless she could prove that the gg or sperm that they created the embryo from was from an American citizen. According to the U.S. State Department there only has to be a link with at least one parent. Thus, if a single where to buy proscar online uk woman utilizes IVF with donor eggs she should not leave the United States until after the child is born to avoid citizenship problems. If a couple utilizes IVF with donor sperm and donor eggs the advise is the same. Otherwise, if either parent’s sperm or egg is used they shoudl be fine but if they travel they should travel with documentation/proff that they are biologically related to the child to avoid having citizenship problems if the woman goes into labor outside of the United States.

Crazy Month for Family Formation / Assisted Reproductive Technology Law

So many things have happened this month that I can’t keep up with the blog posts fast enough before something else happens. Here is a brief re-cap of the events from this month:

APRIL 7, 2011:

We were thrilled to learn that the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state ban on fostering or adoption by cohabiting unmarried couples in a decision issued on April 7, 2011.¬† Prior to this new decision, an individual could not adopt or foster a child if that person was ‚Äúcohabiting with a sexual partner outside of a marriage that is valid under the Arkansas Constitution and the laws of this state.‚Ä̬† This was not a statute that discriminated on its fact against same-sex couples as it also applied to unmarried different-sex couples.¬† However, the concern of course was that in Arkansas a same-sex couple could not remedy the problem by entering into a marriage while a different-sex couple had the remedy of marriage.

This law was found to be unconstitutional by the Arkansas Supreme Court because it substantially and directly burdened the Appellant and interfered with his fundamental right to privacy  that the Arkansas Constitution provided to its citizens.  Privacy was not had because the government had to look into the private, consensual, intimate sexual conduct of the individuals who were seeking to be foster parents or to adopt.  Most importantly, the decision made clear that the home studies, as they were conducted prior to the enactment of the law, were sufficient for the needs of the children of the State of Arkansas.

April 12, 2011

On April 12, 2011, an article was posted on the Internet titled “Couple are ordered to pay surrogate mother £568 a month for the baby they will never see“.  The article claims that the couple had already lost custody of their baby daughter to the surrogate mother. The intended parents, after six late-stage miscarriages, used a surrogacy website to find a surrogate.  They made an informal agreement to pay her £10,000 in expenses.  This was a traditional surrogacy, meaning the surrogate was biologically related to the child.  The surrogate 1/2 way through the process decided she wanted to keep the baby.  Later in the process the intended parents relinquished their contact rights for emotional reasons and stating that it was unfair for the baby to be split between two homes.  The allowed the surrogate to keep the compensation she had received to date, £4,500.  However, the surrogate has now obtained an Order that forces the Intended Parents, who do not have any contact with their baby, to pay £568 per month in child support.  This is a sad scenario.  It once again reiterates our advice to our clients:  (1) Use legitimate agencies that you have fully researched; (2) Always use attorneys; and (3) Steer away from traditional surrogacy (a surrogacy where the surrogate uses her own eggs in the process and is biologically related to the child).

April 13, 2011

On April 13, 2011, News came out of a Human Egg Donor buy generic proscar uk Antitrust Class Action Lawsuit Complaint that was filed over alleged price fixing of human egg donor services that was¬†filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California challenging the efforts of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) to set maximum compensation parameters for commercial egg donation.¬† The complaint alleges that¬†ASRM and SART are engaging in ‚Äúprice fixing‚ÄĚ in violation of federal anti-trust laws.¬† ASRM and SART¬†guidelines were set to assure that women are not receiving fees that are so excessive that they constitute undue inducement.¬† The plaintiffs in the class action appear to acknowledge that purpose.¬† The area of egg donation and payment for egg donation is ripe for legal action and many states have not dealt with the problem within their own laws.¬† Nevada is one of those states.¬† Our law is clear on sperm donations but does not provide framework for egg donations or embryo donations.¬† It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit plays out.

April 13, 2011

On April 12 and then revised on April 13, 2011, a 73 page decision was issued from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (in Louisiana).  It is a sad and shocking decision.  They decided that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution does not require states to issue new birth certificates for children born in their states but adopted elsewhere, if the out-of-state adoption is not of a type allowed under the birth state’s laws.  This is in direct contradiction to everything we have relied on in the past and what we know about Full Faith and Credit Clause.  We have always told our Clients that an Adoption Order is what they want to have in their hands because Full Faith and Credit will be on their side.

The case at issue in the Appeal was a gay couple that was from New York who adopted a child New York that was born in Louisiana.  The adoption was valid and legal in New York.  Louisiana does not allow unmarried couples to jointly adopt children.  Thus, the department in Louisiana that was in charge of birth certificates refused to issue a new birth certificate with both fathers’ names on it.  The lower court ruled in favor of the gay couple finding that Full Faith and Credit applies and a new birth certificate had to be issued.  The Appeals Court overturned the lower court’s decision, finding they did not have to issue a new birth certificate.

The decision is 73 pages of utter sadness.¬† It is really a description of why it is okay for a state to discriminate against children adopted by unmarried couples.¬† It is a depressing decision.¬†¬†It reminds me of the days¬†when the¬†law¬†referenced bastard¬†children and distinguished between¬†‚Äúlegitimate‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúillegitimate‚ÄĚ children.¬†¬†My hope is that this case is appealed to the US Supreme Court and that the decision is reversed.

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