As demand for surrogacy soars, more countries are trying to ban it

surrogacy

Many feminists and religious leaders regard it as exploitation

NATALIE SMITH was born without a uterus. But her ovaries work normally, which means that, with the help of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and a “gestational surrogate”—a woman willing to carry a baby for someone else—she and her husband were able to have children genetically related to both of them. In 2009 they became parents to twins, carried by Jenny French, who has since had babies for two other couples. Ms French was motivated by her own experience of infertility between her first and second children. The experience created a lasting link: she has stayed friends with the family she helped to complete and is godmother to the twins.

gay surrogacy

Ms Smith was lucky to live in Britain, one of just a handful of jurisdictions where surrogacy is governed by clear (though restrictive) rules. In some other European countries, it is illegal. American laws vary from state to state, all the way from complete bans to granting parental rights to the intended parents, rather than the woman who carries the baby. In most of the rest of the world, until recently, surrogacy has been unregulated, leaving all concerned in a legal vacuum. The variation in laws—and costs—has created a global surrogacy trade rife with complications and pitfalls.

Now many of the developing countries whose low costs and lack of legal restrictions had made them popular surrogacy destinations are trying to end the business. Thailand barred foreigners from paying for surrogacy in 2015. Nepal banned it, even when unpaid, later that year. India, where surrogacy had been a booming business for more than a decade, suddenly barred foreign clients a few months later. A bill before its parliament would allow only unpaid surrogacy by close relatives.

These new laws were intended to protect surrogates from exploitation. These poor and often illiterate women could earn an amount equivalent to ten years’ wages for a single pregnancy. Governments feared that some did not understand the contracts they were signing. Unscrupulous clinics often placed multiple embryos in their wombs with the aim of making pregnancy more likely, without making the risks clear. Some overused Caesarean sections and neglected post-partum care.

The Economist, May 11, 2017

Click here to read the entire article.

The post As demand for surrogacy soars, more countries are trying to ban it appeared first on Time For Families.


Source: Time for Families

Highlights From 2017 Chicago MHB Surrogacy & Gay Parenting Conference

gay dads

The 2017 Chicago MHB Conference was an amazing experience for over 100 participants and dozens of providers.

 The possibility of family is a powerful realization and I am proud to be a part of an organization that provides that possibility at the 2017 Chicago MHB conference for so many gay men around the world.  For more information visit www.menhavingbabies.org or www.youtube.com/menhavingbabies.

With over 4500 future and current gay parents worldwide, the international nonprofit Men Having Babies (MHB) is dedicated to providing its members with educational and financial support. Each year over a thousand attendees benefit from unbiased guidance and access to a wide range of relevant service providers at its monthly workshops and conferences in NY, Chicago, Brussels, San Francisco, Dallas and Tel Aviv. The organization’s Gay Parenting Assistance Program (GPAP) annually provides dozens of couples with over a million dollars worth of cash grants, discounts and free services from over fifty leading service providers. Collaborating with an advisory board made of surrogates, MHB developed a framework for Ethical Surrogacy that has received endorsements from several LGBT parenting organizations worldwide. In addition, MHB offers extensive online resources, a directory with ratings and reviews of agencies and clinics, a Surrogacy Speakers Bureau, and a vibrant online community forum.

 

The post Highlights From 2017 Chicago MHB Surrogacy & Gay Parenting Conference appeared first on Time For Families.


Source: Time for Families

In landmark ruling, Italy recognizes gay couple as dads to surrogate babies

Italy surrogacy

For the first time in Italy, two gay partners have been legally recognized as fathers of two surrogate children.

The children were born to a surrogate mother in the United States using artificial insemination, but both of the men will officially be named as its father – not just the parent who is biologically related.

Judges at Trento’s Court of Appeal made the historic ruling in line with the birth certificate issued in the US, which stated the dual paternity, according to the Article 29 website.international surrogacy

The website, which takes its name from the article in the Italian Constitution regarding family life, published the ruling on Tuesday, though the ruling was dated February 23rd.

In their decision, judges noted that the foreign birth certificate was valid because in Italy parental relationships are not determined solely by biological relationships.

“On the contrary,” they said, “One must consider the importance of parental responsibility, which is manifested in the conscious decision to have and care for the child.” 

Article 29 said the decision had “great significance”, as it is the first time an Italian court has ruled that a child has two fathers.

Surrogacy in Italy

Italian law prevents couples from using a surrogate mother, and in theory, anyone caught entering into a surrogacy arrangement faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to a million euros.

Two years ago, a child was taken from its parents who had paid a surrogate mother in Ukraine 25,000 euros. The couple were charged with fraud and the child put up for adoption.

TheLocal.it, February 28, 2017

Click here to read the entire article.

The post In landmark ruling, Italy recognizes gay couple as dads to surrogate babies appeared first on Time For Families.


Source: Time for Families

The LGBT Trump Disconnect

LGBT Trump, GLBT families,. LGBT families, LGBT Trump disconnect

The LGBT Trump disconnect is real and attention must be paid to what appears to be the beginning of a not so veiled assault on LGBT rights in America.

First, I must say that there is an LGBT Trump disconnect.  Since I wrote my first piece about LGBT family rights in the Trump presidency, a lot has changed.  I have heard from many people, and I myself wanted to believe, that Trump wouldn’t touch the LGBT gains that we have made during the Obama years.  But his actions have proven different.  His appointments, activity in state courts and the often unintelligible rhetoric we have become accustomed, all suggest that we may not be as safe as some thought we were.

The Appointment Problem – My greatest fears about Trump’s appointments center around the Department of Justice (DOJ), and more specifically, around the civil rights division of the that agency.  First, the long and telling history of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, the Republican Senator from Alabama who President Trump has tapped to lead the DOJ, is troubling for many more that just LGBT Americans.  According to The Washington Post, Jeff Sessions has claimed to be a civil rights champion, yet he has overstated his experience and, in some cases, lied altogether about his involvement.  Sessions has spent the majority of his career attempting to undermine LGBT equality, the details of which are numerous and troubling.

But the worst of this story is that President Trump has chosen John M. Gore to head the DOJ’s Civil Right s division.  Mr. Gore, prior to this nomination, was in the process of defending North Carolina’s odious trans-bathroom bill.  Prior to that, he defended Republican efforts to gerrymander congressional districts in violation of the civil rights of minority Americans.       This is not only putting the fox in charge of the hen house, but the hens in this analogy are real people who have had their civil rights violated in what should be the most fundamental right this country possesses – the right to vote.  How can they now trust that their best interests will be defended by an agency whose sole purpose is supposed to be that defense.

The Visibility Problem – One of the first signs that there might be a distance between Trump’s “accepting” rhetoric toward the LGBT community during the campaign and what he plans to do as president appeared, or rather disappeared, within the first hour after he was sworn in.  The official White House website, www.whitehouse.gov, removed the LGBT rights page which had been there throughout Obama’s last term, and before.  No explanation was given, however, the pro-Trump Twittersphere rejoiced.LGBT Trump

In an equally expedient manner, all data regarding climate change was removed as well from the whitehouse.gov site.  As most LGBT Americans are not one issue voters, this deletion concerned me as much as the LGBT page being removed.  “Out of sight, out of mind,” seems to be the rule of law now.

The Marriage Issue – I referred earlier to things having changed since I wrote LGBT Family Rights in a Trump Presidency.  At that time, the Supreme Court of Texas had declined to re-hear a case which would abolish benefits that the City of Houston provides to same-sex married couples. On the inauguration day, the Supreme Court of Texas changed its mind, under GOP pressure.  The Republican Governor of Texas himself wrote a brief to the court asking them to reconsider essentially arguing that the Obergefell Supreme Court marriage decision does not apply to Texas.  In that brief, the Governor wrote of the “Federal Tyranny” of the courts and that Obergefell does not require that same-sex married couples and different-sex married couples deserve equal treatment under the law.

In my previous article, I was originally at a loss for identifying a case with a fact pattern that would make it to the Supreme Court which would have the effect of etching away at the Obergefell marriage decision.  This Texas case may be just that.  While it would undoubtedly take time to make it to the Supreme Court, who knows what its makeup will be then.  The anti-marriage movement’s argument is in development as well and may take the same amount of time to get its legs.  The Arkansas Supreme Court issued a decision based on this logic denying same-sex couples that right to be listed on their children’s birth certificates.  The issue is now before us and we cannot afford to stop paying attention.

After attending the Women’s March in Washington this last weekend, I left with a renewed sense of hope and possibility.  Hundreds of thousands of people made the impossible seem possible.  The greatest lesson that I took form my experience there was that no matter how generous I may have felt before in giving President Trump a chance to govern, I cannot forget, nor should any of us, that he won the election by dividing the country and making it clear that some people were simply not welcome.  This is the LGBT Trump disconnect.  I fear now that my beloved LGBT community has taken its place among the female, black, brown, Muslim and immigrant communities that were so vilified during the election and may have no voice in the Trump administration.  I hope that the LGBT Trump disconnect is a myth, but if past is prologue, we have no option other than to pay attention, remain engaged and share our feelings with everyone we can. 

For more information, visit www.timeforfamilies.com, or email me at Anthony@timeforfamilies.com.  

The post The LGBT Trump Disconnect appeared first on Time For Families.


Source: Time for Families

Conscious Surrogacy – Making the Best Decisions For Your Family

conscious surrogacy

Is there such a thing as conscious surrogacy? Yes, and those considering surrogacy will be confronted with some serious ethical questions.

Conscious surrogacy is a process. It is critical to understand some of the questions, and dilemmas, that you will face if you choose surrogacy to help you have your family.  If you are prepared to answer these questions before your surrogacy journey, and if you are comfortable with your answers, then you are ready to have these conversations with a potential surrogate mother.

What are some of the questions that you will face on your conscious surrogacy journey?

Do I want a single embryo or double embryo transfer? Do I want twins?  One of the first questions you will have to consider is whether you want to try and have twins with your surrogate mother.  Many choose this option for economic reasons.  If you know that you want more than one child, consecutive surrogacy journeys may not be an option.  But there is much more to consider.

conscious surrogacy

Twin pregnancies are much harder on the surrogate mother.  It can mean doctor ordered bed rest for your surrogate and more doctors’ visits, particularly in the third trimester.  Twin pregnancies also bring a higher risk of complications for the surrogate, such as preterm labor, and hypertension.

Twins arrive earlier. A normal singleton pregnancy is 40 weeks.  Most twins arrive early, at or before 36 weeks, which means that one or both of the children may require an extended hospital stay in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit.)  Some doctors state that in 50% of twin pregnancies, a NICU stay is required.  This by itself may give parents pause about choosing a double embryo transfer.  Studies show that consecutive singleton births result in better medical outcomes than a single twin birth.  With all the information, you can make a conscious decision.

Do I want PGD or PGS? Preimplantation genetic diagnosis or screening is now being offered by most IVF facilities.  PGD or PGS allows a parent to view the genetic material of their child before an embryo is implanted in a surrogate mother’s womb.  PGD/S can show whether a child has any genetic disorders, the sex of the child and other genetic traits that may complicate a pregnancy.  While infertile couples who use IVF (in vitro fertilization), or anyone with a preexisting genetic condition,  may be familiar with PGD/S, couples or individuals who have their families with the assistance of a surrogate mother will most definitely be asked whether they want the information that PGD/S provides.

Knowing whether there is a genetic complication prior to embryo implantation may be in the best interests of all parties, however, choosing the sex of your child before it is born ventures into an ethical quagmire. Most families do not have this information and, while the technology exists, you must ask whether you want the information that it can provide.  The mental and physical health of your surrogate mother must be a priority in making this decision.

Do I want to selectively reduce if complications arise? Perhaps the most important questions you will confront is whether or not to selectively reduce, or abort, an embryo or fetus if there is a danger to the surrogate mother or to the child.  In reality, no state will enforce a gestational carrier contract which requires selective reduction.  The surrogate mother will always have the final say.  But you must know what you want first before you can discuss it with your surrogate.

While abortion is one of the most controversial topics in American society, it is routinely a part of conversations that intended parents have with their surrogate mothers. Surrogacy agreements attempt to cover all possible outcomes and obstacles that can arise during a surrogate pregnancy.  The most important aspect of this topic is being able to communicate your beliefs and desires with your surrogate.

There are many more issues that intended parents will face. Conscious surrogacy is about understanding the major decisions surrounding these issues and being able to come to a place of peace with each one, first with yourself, then with your surrogate mother.  Respecting her autonomy during the pregnancy will take you a long way toward reaching this goal.  Maintaining open and honest communication with your surrogate mother will also help to ensure that the journey is successful for all involved.

For more information about surrogacy, please visit http://www.timeforfamilies.com or email me at Anthony@timeforfamilies.com.

The post Conscious Surrogacy – Making the Best Decisions For Your Family appeared first on Time For Families.


Source: Time for Families

Gay men increasingly turn to surrogates to have babies

more gay couples are embracing surrogacy

Cliff Hastings and Ron Hoppe-Hastings sailed through the vows at their 2011 civil union ceremony, until they got to the part about entering into fatherhood together.

“We cried our eyes out,” says Hastings, 41. The topic of parenthood was emotional for them, he says — they both really wanted kids — but there was more to it than that: “We didn’t know what the options were. We both thought that having kids might be more of a pipe dream than an actual reality.”

Today, Hastings and Hoppe-Hastings are the proud fathers of 11-month-old twin girls conceived with the aid of an egg donor and grown in the womb of a surrogate, a woman who carries a baby (or babies) for other people, often heterosexuals with fertility issues.surrogacy

No one tracks how many gay men are having babies via surrogates, but observers say that the numbers are growing.

“I’ve definitely seen an increase,” says Dr. Eve Feinberg, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

“As gay marriage has become legal, I think it’s become much more socially acceptable for men to pursue fertility treatments and have babies.”

Five years ago, surrogacy for gay men was “unheard of” at Fertility Centers of Illinois, Feinberg says. When she left the practice in July, 20 to 30 male couples were pursuing surrogacy in a given year.

An informal survey of fertility clinics in more than 10 cities conducted for the Tribune by FertilityIQ (www.fertilityiq.com), a website where patients evaluate their fertility doctors, found that 10 to 20 percent of donor eggs are going to gay men having babies via surrogacy, and in a lot of places the numbers are up 50 percent from five years ago.

Cost remains a big barrier, according to FertilityIQ co-founder Jake Anderson, with costs for gay men, who typically need a surrogate and an egg donor, coming in at about $100,000 to $200,000. But with employers increasingly paying for fertility treatments for heterosexual couples, and lesbians pushing for insurance benefits that include them, gay men will likely gain more insurance coverage as well, according to Anderson.

“We think this is going to be pretty darn commonplace,” he says. “Maybe not tomorrow, but five years from now, 10 years from now, everybody will know a few people who have built their families through gay surrogacy.”

Hastings and Hoppe-Hastings, who are married and live outside Champaign, Ill., thought that they would adopt their children. But then, about three years ago, one of Hastings’ high school classmates posted pictures on Facebook. She was pregnant, and when Hastings congratulated her, she explained that she was a surrogate, carrying a baby for a heterosexual couple. The friend got Hastings in touch with the agency that had arranged her surrogacy, Family Source Consultants in Chicago.

by Nara Schoenburg, Chicagotribune.com, November 23, 2016

Click here to read the entire article.

The post Gay men increasingly turn to surrogates to have babies appeared first on Time For Families.


Source: Time for Families

Teen Panel 2016: Surrogacy children of gay dads share their stories

mhblogo

Teen Panel 2016: Surrogacy children of gay dads share their stories.
In this part the panelists speak about two defining moments in their recent pasts: the June 2015 decision by the Supreme Court on Marriage Equality, and the election of Donald Trump. As children with LGBTQ parents, how did they feel on these historic occasions, and how were their lives affected?

This panel was part of the 2016 Men Having Babies NY Conference. It was offered in cooperation with the Outspoken Generation program of Family Equality Council, and was moderated by the organization’s executive director, Stan Sloan.

The post Teen Panel 2016: Surrogacy children of gay dads share their stories appeared first on Time For Families.
Source: Time for Families

 

Surrogacy laws for single parents to change after court ruling

surrogate lawyers, surrogate lawyer, surrogate attorney, legal surrogate, surrogate legal

Surrogacy laws which prevent single people from claiming parental rights are set to change following a ruling by the Family Division of the High Court.

 

The court ruled earlier this month that a single man who fathered a child via a surrogate mother had his right to raise the child discriminated against.

The man claimed the current law meant an application for a “parental order” could only be made by two people.

The government said it was now considering updating the legislation.international second parent adoption, gay parent adoption, Italy, lgbt Italy, glut Italy, gay families, international gay rights

American mother

The child was born in August 2014 in Minnesota in the US, to an American surrogate mother using the father’s sperm and a third party donor’s egg.

The father then returned to the UK, bringing the child – ,known in court as Z – with him. But legally he did not have parental responsibility for the child – as under British law the surrogate mother is regarded as his mother, whatever the wishes of either party.

The current laws – the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 – allow married couples, civil partners and couples in an “enduring family relationship” to apply for parental orders after a surrogacy arrangement.

This transfers legal parenthood from the surrogate mother to the commissioning parents. But the legislation does not currently allow parental orders to be awarded to single people.

In this case, the only option available to the would-be father was to apply to adopt the child.

Sir James Munby, the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, has agreed with the father, who said the legislation was incompatible with human rights laws.

The president of the Family Division of the High Court made a “declaration of incompatibility” in a ruling, after considering the case at a hearing in London.

He also said the child had been made a ward of court at an earlier stage of litigation and been placed in his father’s care.

Adoption ‘solution’

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s legal team had accepted that provisions of the Act were incompatible with human rights covering respect for family life and discrimination.

Barrister Samantha Broadfoot, representing Mr Hunt, told the judge: “It is accepted that there is a difference in treatment between a single person entering into a lawful surrogacy arrangement and a couple entering the same arrangement.”

She did add that adoption was an “available solution”.

BBC.com/news/UK

Click here to read the entire article.

The post Surrogacy laws for single parents to change after court ruling appeared first on Time For Families.
Source: Time for Families

Verizon’s Bar on Paid Leave for Surrogate Births Prompts Bias Suit

Verizon

A New Jersey woman who had twins by a gestational surrogate has filed a discrimination suit against Verizon Communications because she was not allowed to take time off under the company’s paid maternity leave policy.

Marybeth Walz of Red Bank said Verizon grants six to eight weeks of paid leave to women employees who become mothers through birth or adoption. Walz opted to use a surrogate because her uterus had been removed after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2001. But the company refused to grant her paid leave, and instead required her to use vacation and sick days when the twins were born prematurely in November 2013, the suit said. As such, she suffers from a pregnancy-related disability because she is unable to become pregnant, her suit claims.gestational carrier

Granting paid leave to a woman who becomes a mother through surrogacy allows her to bond with her child, said Gaia Bernstein, a professor at Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark whose areas of study include reproductive technology and the law.

“There are more and more surrogate cases. I think the mothers [who use a surrogate] should get the same benefits as a mother who is adopting or an actual mother because they are the one taking care of the baby. The way they got the baby is irrelevant,” said Bernstein.

The suit, Walz v. Verizon Business Network Services, accuses Verizon of sex, pregnancy and disability discrimination as well as retaliation and violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act. It was filed in federal court in Boston in September 2015, but Verizon moved to transfer the case to the District of New Jersey.

One of the boys, Thad, suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage and died one day after birth. The other, Jude, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and died six months later. While she was coping with the death of Thad, the serious illness of Jude and her own grief-related mental disability, she received a new job assignment that she contended was a demotion. And shortly after Jude’s death, she was terminated from her job.

Walz’s eggs were fertilized with an anonymous donor’s sperm and transferred into the uterus of her sister-in-law in May 2013. Walz, her sister-in-law and her brother obtained a consent order from a North Carolina court, calling for Walz’s name to be listed as the mother on the twins’ birth certificates, with no name listed for the father. The order also severed the rights and responsibilities of Walz’s brother and sister-and-law to the twins.

Walz said a Verizon human resources representative suggested she adopt the twins, to which she replied that she saw no need to adopt her own children, and was instead securing her rights through a consent order The human resources representative said “shame on you for doing it that way,” and said the company would pay $10,000 in expenses if she adopted the children.

Verizon’s handling of the case caused Walz extreme emotional distress and anxiety, she claims.

Lawyers for Basking Ridge-based Verizon, from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, have moved to transfer the venue to New Jersey, and the case has been stayed pending a ruling on venue. The company maintains that the plaintiff, defendant and most of the witnesses are located in New Jersey and the only reason for the case to be in Massachusetts is that the plaintiff’s lawyer is located there.

A Morgan Lewis attorney in Princeton, Michelle Silverman, did not respond to a request for comment.

Charles Toutant, New Jersey Law Journal

November 14, 2016

Click here to read the entire article.

The post Verizon’s Bar on Paid Leave for Surrogate Births Prompts Bias Suit appeared first on Time For Families.

Source: Time for Families

Cambodian Ministry of Health Bans Surrogate Pregnancy

Cambodia

The health minister has banned surrogate pregnancy arrangements in the country, putting the brakes on what appeared to be a quickly expanding—if controversial—industry. The move comes just days after the justice minister called for the practice to be outlawed.

Addressing representatives of Cambodia’s medical community during a meeting at the Health Ministry on Monday, Health Minister Mam Bunheng announced a ban on surrogacy, according to staff from a Phnom Penh fertility clinic who were present.

The ban is among other measures outlined in a new prakas on the management of blood, ovum, marrow and human cells that Mr. Bunheng approved last week.international surrogacy

“Surrogacy, one of a set of services to have a baby by assisted reproductive technology, is completely banned,” says the proclamation, dated October 24.

It also bans commercial sperm donation and requires clinics and specialist doctors providing in vitro fertilization services to receive permission from the ministry.

Experts estimate up to 50 surrogacy providers and brokers are operating in Cambodia, many of which moved their businesses here in response to other countries in Asia—including India, Nepal and Thailand—either tightening regulations around the practice or banning it outright.

It remained unclear if surrogacy providers would be granted a grace period to make alternate arrangements, what measures would be taken to enforce compliance, and the implications for women who are currently pregnant—and would-be parents on the other side of the transaction.

Spokesmen for the Health Ministry and Justice Ministry could not be reached on Wednesday.

In August, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs met with members of government and health organizations to discuss its response to reports that surrogacy agents were flocking to the country. Late last month, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana called for a ban on surrogacy, describing it as a form of human “trading.”

by  November 3, 2016

The post Cambodian Ministry of Health Bans Surrogate Pregnancy appeared first on Time For Families.

Source: Time for Families