Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Sunday, September 16, 2018

New Law Will Require Insurers To Cover Egg, Embryo Freezing For Cancer Patients

From The Chicago Tribune:

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law Monday that, beginning Jan. 1, will require health insurance companies in Illinois to cover the preservation of eggs, sperm and embryos for patients with cancer and certain other diseases.

Those patients often have to undergo treatments that can leave them sterile. Yet, until now, not all insurers have covered the costs of preserving their fertility.

Sperm freezing can cost as little as a couple of hundred dollars, while the process of preserving eggs and embryos can cost more than $10,000.

About 5,800 Illinois residents of reproductive age — between 14 and 45 — are diagnosed with cancer each year, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Read more here.

September 16, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 3, 2018

Surrogacy and Thorny Issues of Identity, Parenthood and Status in Modern Families

From Lexis Nexis:

AB v CD and others [2018] EWHC 1590 (Fam) illustrates how the needs of modern families formed through assisted conception and surrogacy continue to challenge and outpace the law. Louisa Ghevaert and Richard Jones analyse the case in the September issue of Family Law ([2018] Fam Law 1187).

On one level, the case focused on disputes about arrangements for the children’s upbringing, including exercise of parental responsibility and contact. However, at the heart of this case were fundamental issues about the legal identity and status of the parents and children because the biological intended parents had not applied for parental orders.

This case marked the first time the court had to deal with a situation whereby a family created through surrogacy encountered serious domestic violence, marital breakdown, divorce and remarriage forming a new blended family.

Read more here.

September 3, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction, Custody (parenting plans), International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 2, 2018

This Company Covers IVF Treatment for Employees

From People:

For more than 14 years, Tosha Pratt and her husband, Nick Pratt, had tried to conceive a baby without any luck. Unable to afford costly in vitro fertilization treatments, they wondered if they would have to give up.

Then, a few days after Thanksgiving in 2016, Pratt sat down at her desk at Ultimate Software in Dawsonville, Georgia — where she works as an implementation consultant — and opened a company email delivering some incredible news: Her employer had decided to cover IVF treatments for any worker who was struggling to have a family.

“I sat there and cried tears of joy,” Pratt, now 35, tells PEOPLE. “This was finally our channel to have the family we’d always wanted. It was the best early Christmas present ever.”

She and her husband, 38, are now parents to a 4 1/2-month daughter, Alayna Faith, born on March 5, 2018, after a successful IVF treatment done last June.

Read more here.

August 2, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Single Men Increasingly Having Biological Children via Surrogacy

From Chicago Tribune:

Bill Guest was about 30 when his biological clock kicked in.

His friends were having kids left and right, and suddenly being a doting uncle wasn’t enough. Guest wasn’t particularly interested in getting married, but he did very much want a child, and not an older child.

“I wanted a baby,” said Guest, 40, of Villa Park. “I wanted to experience all of the stages of life.”

With Father’s Day approaching, single fathers such as Guest are a reminder of how far modern men will go to become parents.

Read more here.

July 15, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Supreme Court Rules Against Women in NIFLA v Becerra

From NBC News:

This week the United States Supreme Court ruled against women. Or at least, it ruled against women who might be looking for information about their reproductive rights.

And things are likely to get worse. On Wednesday, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote on so many important issues including gay rights, affirmative action and abortion, announced that he is retiring from the high court. We will only continue to see more harmful decisions when it comes to the ability of women to control what happens to their bodies.

The court's decision in the case of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra is just the tip of the iceberg. While there can be no doubt that we must zealously guard the First Amendment rights of those who do not wish to speak, particularly when that speech contravenes their religious beliefs, those rights are not absolute. At some point they must give way to public health concerns and the need to provide patients and would-be patients with accurate information.

Read more here.

July 5, 2018 in Abortion, Alternative Reproduction, Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 23, 2018

USAID Cuts Funding for Family Planning in Africa

From Independent Online:

The Marie Stopes Ladies who drive from village to village in the remote north of Burkina Faso offering free contraception, advice on family planning, sexual health and sometimes abortion, may have to stop work in June.

The ten have been entirely funded by a $1.25 million (about R15.7 million) grant from USAID but the US development agency cut all money for Marie Stopes International when it refused to comply with a rule reinstated by Republican President Donald Trump in January 2017.

It bans funding to any foreign NGO carrying out or offering advice on abortions anywhere. The goal is to please Christian conservatives who strongly oppose abortion and are a major part of Trump's political base.

MSI and the International Planned Parenthood Federation are among only four to reject the conditions of the order. They offer abortion services, in accordance with local rules, and say it is a last resort in preventing unwanted or unsafe births.

Read more here.

June 23, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Eating Fast Food Linked to Infertility

From Reuters:

Women who eat a lot of fast food may take longer to become pregnant and be more likely to experience infertility than their counterparts who rarely if ever eat these types of meals, a recent study suggests.

Compared to women who generally avoided fast food, women who indulged four or more times a week before they conceived took almost a month longer to become pregnant, the study of 5,598 first-time mothers in Australia, New Zealand and the UK found.

Overall, 2,204 women, or 39 percent, conceived within one month of when they began having sex with their partner without contraception and 468, or 8 percent, experienced infertility and failed to conceive after 12 months of trying.

Read more here.

May 27, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Who Gets Embryos In Divorce?

From AZ Today (part of the USA Today Network):

State law may soon dictate who has the right to their own frozen embryos, regardless of what the potential parents think.

In cases of divorce, Senate Bill 1393 would require courts to give frozen embryos to the spouse who "intends to allow the embryos to develop to birth."

If both adults want to use the embryos to have a baby, the court would have to give them to the one who "provides the best chance" of successfully doing so.

The bill, which has passed the Senate and now just needs a final vote in the House before going to the governor, would override any agreements or contracts that the couple previously had on the matter, and would ignore either person's current objections or concerns. 

Read more here.

March 13, 2018 in Alternative Reproduction, Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Women Turn to Black Market for Fertility Drugs

From WPTV5:

TULSA -- Women looking to conceive are turning to the black market to buy fertility drugs. 

One in ten women struggles with getting pregnant and turn to doctors for help. 

KJRH spoke to an Oklahoma woman, who asked to remain anonymous, who sells her leftover fertility drugs. 

When asked if she thought she was doing something dangerous in any way she said no. 

"I know I have good intentions and I know that I want to help someone else and do everything I can," the woman said. 

She posted her leftovers to an online marketplace. She listed her Follistim for $375, Menopur for $175 and Ganirelix for $65. Compare that to the price those drugs are sold in the pharmacy and the savings run into the thousands. 

"You're maxing out your credit card and financing and everything," the woman said. "It's just you would do anything to have [a baby], but you're just hemorrhaging money." 

Read more here

November 6, 2017 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Under NY Law, Insurance Companies Now Required To Cover Fertility Treatments For All Women

From CBS New York:

Under New York law, insurance companies are now responsible to provide coverage for fertility treatment to all women regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday.

Prior to the announcement, coverage only included women trying to conceive naturally.

“In New York, we firmly believe that everyone, no matter who they are, deserves the right to control their own bodies and make their own reproductive health decisions,” Cuomo said. “All women who wish to have a child are entitled to insurance coverage for fertility treatment regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status, just as all women have the right to reproductive choice and to decide if and when to start a family, and New York will always stand up to protect and preserve those rights.”

Read more here

May 7, 2017 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

In world first, Singapore court rules parents deserve kids with their genes

From Asia Times:

Blood is thicker than water, or so the saying goes, reflecting the value we put on biological relationships. But is it something the law should recognize?

Singapore’s Supreme Court recently ruled on a case that asks this very question, and it gave a fascinating answer: parents have a strong interest in “genetic affinity” with their children, one that can merit compensation if subverted.

Genetic affinity is an entirely new legal standard. It has no clear precedent in any jurisdiction. But the court made a compelling argument that it has a sound basis in the way we value family and heredity.

Read more here

April 23, 2017 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 3, 2017

3-person IVF approved by HFEA – what does this mean?

From LexisNexis:

On 15 December 2016, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) approved the use of a new medical technique, known as mitochondrial donation, at UK fertility clinics.

This means people at high risk of conceiving a baby with certain life-threatening genetic conditions can have the chance to conceive a healthy, genetically related child. This technique is encompassed in a range of techniques often referred to as 3-Person IVF.  UK licensed fertility clinics can now apply to the HFEA for permission to offer this on a case-by-case basis to fertility patients.

How does the new 3-Person IVF technique work?

This new technique works by transferring the nucleus of an affected woman's egg (or nucleus of a fertilised embryo) into the shell of another woman's egg or embryo (having first removed the nucleus). This technique creates an embryo from the genetic material of three people.

Read more here.

February 3, 2017 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

When it comes to starting a family, you can’t have your cake and eat it too

From The Huffington Post:

A woman is 35 years old. She is unmarried. She wants to have a child. She realizes that her childbearing years are coming to an end relatively soon. The proverbial “clock” is ticking away. She goes to a sperm bank and looks at the profiles. She doesn’t like the idea of picking the sperm of a stranger, so instead she decides to approach a male friend of hers and ask him to provide sperm.

Her male friend has no children of his own and likes the idea. He is interested in helping her. He wants to know what his involvement will be. Will they share the child and raise the child together? Will the child spend nights at each of their homes? Can they be like divorced parents sharing custody?

Her response to this is “not exactly”. When asked what that means, she explains to him that he will help her achieve the pregnancy but he will not have legal responsibility to the child. He will be the child’s “uncle” and he can take the child out once in a while on outings or to play, he can babysit, and he can celebrate some holidays with the child, but in the end she is the mother and the child’s only parent. She tells him that this is a good arrangement for him because he never has to pay child support. He gets to see his child grow up and participate in that in a limited way, but he is also untethered and can do whatever he wants.

Read more here.

 

November 26, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New York Expands the Definition of Parent for Unmarried Couples

From Nolo.com:

On August 30, 2016, the New York Court of Appeals issued a landmark decision in In the Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C. As a result, New York now recognizes that children may have a second parent not related to them by blood, adoption, or marriage.  

The Brooke S.B. case involved Brooke and Elizabeth—unmarried partners in a lesbian couple—who were engaged to be married in 2007. In 2008, Elizabeth became pregnant through artificial insemination and gave birth to a baby boy. Brooke had no legal or biological ties to the child, but she maintained a close, parental relationship with him for years, which included giving him her last name and raising him jointly with Elizabeth.

The couple separated in 2010, and in 2013, Elizabeth began restricting Brooke’s contact with the child, so Brooke filed for custody.

Read more here.

October 12, 2016 in Adoption, Alternative Reproduction, Cohabitation (live-ins), Custody (parenting plans), Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Another Parentage Success Story

From Fred Silberberg writing for The Huffington Post:

You may recall the landmark Court of Appeal published decision obtained by our firm in 2014 known as Jason P. v. Danielle S. 226 Cal. App. 4th 167. That case created a change to decades old parentage statutes which barred a biological father who provided sperm to a physician for insemination into his unmarried partner from legal parentage status even where the father had a father-son relationship with his child. The decision allowed the biological father to obtain legal status as the child’s father where he could meet certain legal criteria. Prior to that time, statutes and decisional law precluded the biological father from obtaining such status, distinguishing them from fathers who were married to the child’s mother at the time of conception.

We are pleased to announce that another of our clients has now obtained legal parentage status by application of the principles set forth in Jason P. In a recent memorandum of decision, the court found that our client, a father who had a relationship with his son who was conceived through fertility procedures with a female friend, met the criteria set forth in the Family Code as modified by Jason P. The court declared that he would also be the legal father of his little boy over the mother’s objections.

Read more here.

September 16, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction, Attorneys | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Designer Babies? Most Say "No Thanks"

From the International Business Times:

American adults have express distrust in regard to the emerging field of biomedical technologies used for human enhancement. A survey completed by the Pew Research Center found that many Americans fear a world where "designer babies" are common. This kind of science, while relatively new, still has the ability to become more pronounced in every day life in the very near future. 

Many of those surveyed, even when questioned about using the technologies toward solving health crises, were concerned about widening the gap between "haves" and "have nots" due to the anticipated expenses that would likely arise in utilizing these new scientific therapies.

Read more here.

July 27, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Contentious battles between couples over frozen embryos raise legal and ethical dilemmas

Battle Over the Embryo Raises Legal and Ethical Dilemmas for Attempted Divorcees

From The ABA Journal:

When Risa Levine, a real estate attorney in New York City, got married, she wanted nothing more than to have a baby. Her husband at the time also wanted a child, but they weren't able to do so on their own. So they went to a fertility clinic together.

They discovered their best hope for creating a baby was through in vitro fertilization. IVF is a series of procedures involving extracting eggs from a woman’s body, combining them with sperm in a laboratory and then placing them inside her uterus. Fertility doctors can also cryopreserve any excess embryos so they can be thawed and used later.

Levine and her husband, who worked in real estate finance, had four frozen embryos. The couple went through more than 10 IVF cycles, but they split up before they were able to have a baby. At the time of their separation, Levine was in her mid-40s.

During the divorce process, Levine and her ex battled over custody of the embryos because, while she still wanted to be a parent, he no longer did. He wanted the embryos destroyed, and she wanted to keep them frozen so she could, possibly, have a baby in the future.

Read more here.

June 8, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chinese Lesbian Couple are First Homosexual Couple to Utilize Surrogacy

From NPR Berlin:

A Chinese lesbian couple gave birth to twins last month following successful IVF. The couple travelled to Portland, Oregon for the procedure and returned to China to give birth. This is the first time that a lesbian couple has used this form of surrogacy in China. This is seen as a milestone in China because only heterosexual couples are allowed to have children or have access to reproductive services.

Read more here.

May 21, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

In Vitro Fertilization Bill Would Define Embryos as Human Life

From The Missouri Times:

Jasha McQueen created four embryos with her then-husband through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2007. Two of those embryos became her twin sons, but the other two have become the subject of a lengthy and grueling court battle when McQueen and her husband started divorce proceedings in 2010. McQueen claimed possession of those embryos when they were created.

When she did not receive them, she began a fight for custody.

The legal framework that would make that possible is thanks to a bill sponsored by Rep. John McCaherty, R-High Ridge, that would recognize human embryos as human life, meaning in cases of divorce, they would be divided as children are in custody battles instead of as possessions are divided. The judge in these proceedings would also have to rule in favor of the best interests for the embryo to come to term.

“In essence, what the judicial system is doing… they have no clear direction what to do with frozen human embryos so they are treating them as property,” McCaherty said during testimony. “This bill gives some direction to the courts. Either parent could pay fees to allow them to be frozen in perpetuity. I don’t believe it is in the best interest of the state to be making decisions on the issue of life when there is a parent that wants to raise a child.”

McQueen also testified, saying that her relationship to her embryos was already personal.

“These are two of my babies that I would like to give them the opportunity to be born,” she said. “It is a compassionate bill that looks at the people going through this process that is incredibly grueling.

 

“We are terminating this person’s embryo over their objections. That should not happen. There are people… that are grieving parents at the hands of a judge. I feel like the judge and the state of Missouri are killing my babies.”

While opposition to the resolution seemed to sympathize with McQueen’s plight to an extent, they had deep concerns about the way in which this bill would enable her to obtain those embryos.

Carla Holste, a family law practitioner with the Carson and Coil law firm, noted that redefining embryos as life under law could have disastrous unforeseen consequences for the IVF industry.

Read more here.

 

March 31, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Fertility Treatment May Not Work As Well For Women With Asthma

From Fox News Health:

Women with asthma who are undergoing fertility treatment may take much longer to conceive than peers without the respiratory disorder, a small Danish study suggests.

Researchers followed 245 women with unexplained infertility who sought treatment to help them conceive. With asthma, half of them took at least 4.6 years to conceive, compared to about 2.7 years without asthma.

Several studies have linked asthma to reproduction-related problems in women, the study team writes in European Respiratory Journal, though the connection is poorly understood.

"Despite subfertility often being seen clinically in asthmatic women, a causal relationship between asthma and subfertility has never been established," lead study author Dr. Elisabeth Juul Gade of Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen told Reuters Health.

"We showed that asthma has a negative influence on fertility as it increases time to pregnancy and possibly reduces birth rate, especially above 35 years of age," Gade said by email.

While the study doesn't prove asthma causes infertility, the findings suggest that women with asthma should take steps to manage symptoms before trying to conceive and also consider starting their families at a younger age when they may not have as much difficulty getting pregnant, Gade said.

To explore the link between asthma and infertility, Gade and colleagues followed women between ages 23 and 45 who had difficulties getting pregnant, including 96 women with asthma and 149 women without the condition.

 

Read more here.

March 12, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)