Comprehensive Legal Services For Couples Starting A Family
Statistically, the numbers are staggering: One out of every six couples will experience a fertility-related problem. Nearly 1,500,000 patients will consider medical solutions to their infertility this year alone. Of those seeking treatment, less than half will be rewarded with a pregnancy.
For the 750,000 people who are not successful using conventional infertility treatments, only one option remains to them to begin a family – assisted reproductive technologies (commonly referred to as ART). Through techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), more than fifty thousand couples have now enjoyed the miracle of starting a family.
A Distinctly Qualified Team At The Cutting Edge Of Surrogacy Legislation
Handling in excess of 900 surrogacy and egg donation arrangements each year, Vorzimer Masserman - Fertility & Family Law Center attorneys are uniquely qualified to provide comprehensive legal and counseling services to couples utilizing assisted reproduction.
We have represented over 23,000 couples from more than 35 countries throughout the world, who have used surrogacy and/or egg donation to experience the joys of parenthood. With six full-time attorneys, each client is ensured of receiving personalized attention, support and counsel.
Defining Legal Thought On IVF And Egg Donation
The gestational surrogacy (In vitro fertilization) contract VM prepares for our clients is the very same contract considered and validated by the California Supreme Court in the landmark Johnson v. Calvert case. Notably, we have never had a surrogate working with one of our clients change her mind.
VM attorneys travel throughout the world, presenting lectures on assisted reproduction and frequently appear in the international press addressing issues relating to surrogacy and egg donation. We have also authored numerous articles on third party reproduction, copies of which are available upon request.
Protecting The Rights Of Surrogates, Donors And Parents
Some of the services we provide to assist our clients include: counseling couples, surrogates and egg donors on the state of the law, with respect to the different reproduction methods available; drafting of contract(s) between the couple and their surrogate and/or egg donor; and assisting couples in finalizing their parental rights.
As part of legal counseling and contract drafting, we address, among others, the following issues:
- Establishing the intent of the parties as to parental rights
- Identifying the parties’ financial responsibility
- Identifying the finalization procedures to be utilized
- Ensuring all parties obtain informed consent
- Requiring social disease testing, including HIV/AIDS
- Ensuring the surrogate/donor is medically examined and screened
- Discussing the current status of the law and the attendant risks
Here is a brief overview of some of the assisted reproduction techniques VM can advise on:
In Vitro Fertilization And The Law
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the most prevalent and successful assisted reproductive treatment used today. While initially only used when women had blocked or missing fallopian tubes, today IVF has become the preferred treatment to counteract infertility. Offering a solution to a wide variety of infertility problems, IVF allows women who otherwise could not carry a child, the opportunity to bear a child.
For those women who are medically unable to carry a child, IVF with a surrogate now gives couples the opportunity to have a child biologically related to them. In vitro fertilization with the use of an egg donor allows would-be mothers, whose ovaries fail to produce eggs, an answer to their infertility problems. With success rates now exceeding 70% per transfer, IVF has emerged as the most flexible and viable assisted reproductive technology available.
Understanding Your Rights In Relation To Artificial Insemination
The oldest method of assisted reproduction, artificial insemination is the placement of sperm in the female reproductive tract. For couples experiencing infertility due to poor sperm count, motility or morphology, artificial insemination is often indicated, whether by use of the husband’s sperm or donor sperm.
With respect to the use of donor sperm, the husband consents to the artificial insemination of his wife and agrees that the child will be treated by law as if it were the husband’s natural child. Adding to the flexibility of artificial insemination is the ability to use a surrogate where the woman is incapable of either conceiving or carrying a child to term.
Egg Donation And The Law
Initially used to aid young women suffering premature ovarian failure, oocyte donation has become an extraordinary treatment for women of all ages who are incapable of producing viable eggs or are carriers of genetic diseases. With success rates approaching 50% per egg donation cycle and the availability of non-anonymous donors, oocyte donation has become a frequently used method of assisted reproduction.
Whether the donor egg is transferred directly to the intended mother or into a surrogate, oocyte donation has provided would-be parents with options previously unavailable. Importantly, many jurisdictions treat the use of a donor egg similarly to that of donated sperm, thus obviating the need for an adoption as the intended mother is considered the legal mother of the child.
Lost in the legal maze of surrogacy and reproductive legislation? At VM we helped define current thinking and advise clients worldwide on the best ways to start a family. For a free and confidential consultation call our LA office at (818) 303-2438 or send us an email here.