Family Law Prof Blog

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

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


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)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why More Americans Don't Get IVF Treatments

From Forbes:

Back when I worked as a reproductive endocrinologist (“RE,” “IVF doc”) I filled my days with the (literally) microscopic observations, decisions and details of helping my patients have healthy babies. I spent much less time thinking about the IVF industry as a whole, its business direction, whether or not it was as a whole run efficiently. We saw patients seven days a week, started ultrasound scans at 6AM and kind of assumed that we and our colleagues were effective stewards of our little corner of the healthcare world.

12 years and one career later, I spend all of my time studying industries, identifying inefficiencies and passing judgment on solutions, investing in those that make sense (and sometimes investing on the likelihood of failure of those that don’t.) And as much as I still respect and admire the work of the RE’s, nurses, scientists and embryologists that do IVF now, I think that the big picture can be–and should be–better.

Let’s start with some basic data. Number of U.S. infertility patients: over 7 million. Number of IVF transfers in a year: less than 200,000.

That’s one in 35 infertility patients.

Not every patient with infertility needs IVF, but to this ex-RE, one in 35 seems way too low. It amounts to approximately one IVF cycle for every 1,800 people in the United States.

To compare, look outside the U.S. Other countries do a lot more. The U.K. does one cycle for every 1,000 people. Spain does one cycle for every 700 people, Japan about one in 500, Australia about one in 400, Israel one in 200, about nine times what we do per capita.

What’s behind these huge differences? Most likely a combination of factors: cultural attitudes towards family size and at what age to start a family, population genetics, variations country to country in healthcare spending. Is there a much higher prevalence of infertility in every country outside the U.S.? Birth rates are declining in most parts of the world, but little evidence exists that any one medically based variable separates the United States’ prevalence from the rest of the world.

Read more here.

March 1, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"Egg-Timer" Row Over Fertility Tests in Australia

From Yahoo News:

WA doctors are being swamped by women aged in their 30s wanting “egg-timer” fertility tests that could be doing more harm than good.

Experts warn the popular blood tests are unreliable, with one woman distraught after the results suggested she was going through menopause, only to later find out she was actually pregnant.

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on tests, women are being advised to track their own cycle with a $10 smart phone app and a thermometer.

The Anti-Mullerian hormone or egg-timer test has been used in Australia for more than a decade by women wanting to check how many eggs they have left.

But a recent study of almost 500 women aged 20 to 44, published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, found the original AMH test underestimated fertility by 68 per cent.

While the accuracy of the test was improved in 2013 after a spate of false low readings, experts say women should still be wary, and the tests often led to unnecessary referrals to specialists.

University of WA professor of reproductive medicine Roger Hart said that every time he gave a talk to GPs they complained about being harassed by women wanting to be tested.

Read more here.

January 5, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 13, 2015

12 Sterile Men Father Babies Through Spermatid Injection

From Daily Mail:

Twelve men considered sterile by their doctors have had babies, thanks to a breakthrough by scientists.

The ‘remarkable’ work brings could allow hundreds of British men a year to fulfill their dream of fatherhood, despite not making any sperm themselves.  The hope surrounds a technique called round spermatid injection.

It involves injecting a very immature sperm directly into a woman’s egg and is designed to help men in which sperm production stops half-way through, when the cells are still round and before they take on their distinctive tadpole shape.

It first caught doctors’ interest in the 1990s and a handful of babies were born worldwide, including one in the UK.  However, it was quickly banned here due to concerns that such early-stage sperm may be genetically abnormal.

Success rates were also low and the technique was abandoned worldwide.

In the latest study, Japanese scientists refined the method and used it to allow 12 infertile men father 14 babies between them.

All of the boys and girls were deemed to be healthy and free of physical, mental or genetic problems.

Read more here.

November 13, 2015 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Intel Expands Fertility and Adoption Benefits to Entice Female Employees


Intel announced this week that it planned to quadruple fertility benefits and triple adoption benefits for its employees, upping the ante for large tech firms that are trying to woo female workers by offering greater than average healthcare coverage.

Because one in eight women nationally struggle with fertility, Intel said boosting benefits for people struggling in that area is just good for business.

"This initiative is basically trying to help our employees at a time when any research says that it's very stressful, specifically, people trying to start a family," said Richard Taylor, Intel's director of human resources.

Women account for a little more than 24 percent of Intel's workforce, and the company hopes that figure will grow.

"What we wanted to do was to keep the talent we've got, and also help to attract even more talent," Taylor said.

Intel announced in a blog post Monday that beginning in 2016, it would boost its fertility benefit coverage from $10,000 to $40,000 for medical services. It also would increase related prescription services from $5,000 to $20,000.

In addition, employees no longer need a medical diagnosis for fertility coverage, which will help some same-sex couples. Intel also said it will triple adoption assistance to $15,000 per child.

Read more here.

October 30, 2015 in Adoption, Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

South Australia Fertility Clinics Struggling to Keep Up With Increasing Demand for Donor Sperm

From ABC Online:

Fertility clinics in South Australia say they are struggling to keep up with an increasing demand for donor sperm.

They said rising infertility rates along with a greater number of same-sex couples and single women requesting treatments have contributed to the shortage in donated sperm supplies.

Repromed Fertility Specialists general manager Dr Hamish Hamilton said more sperm donors are needed, but numbers had been steadily declining over the past decade.

"Back in the 80s and 90s sperm donors could donate anonymously and the screening processes weren't as tight as they are now," he said.

Under legislation, those conceived through a donor are entitled to know the identity of their biological parents.

"Every sperm donor now has to agree to be contacted in 18 years time when the child reaches 18 years of age," he said.

"So that rigour around the recruitment of donor sperms means there are less donors willing to donate."

Dr Hamilton said the increase in demand at Repromed could also be attributed to a greater number of women looking to start a family later in life.

Read more here.

October 29, 2015 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ovarian Tissue Transplants Help Women Have Children After Cancer, Study Shows

From TIME:

An experimental procedure in which women who survive cancer receive transplants of their own ovarian tissue has helped some women have babies, a new study shows. The study is the largest to be done on this procedure so far.

The Denmark study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, focused on women who had one ovary removed and frozen when they found out that they had cancer. After receiving treatment and recovering from cancer, doctors transplanted the preserved ovarian tissue onto the women’s remaining ovary, the Associated Press reports.

The study looked at 41 women with cancer who had the procedure between 2003 and 2014. The results showed that among the 32 women who wanted to get pregnant, 10 did conceive and gave birth. The findings suggest the procedure could help 1 in 3 women successfully have a baby.

According to the AP, over 36 babies have been born after ovarian transplants including 14 in Denmark.

Read more here.

October 15, 2015 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Rise of 'Virgin' Moms as More Single Women Pursue IVF

From ABC News:

A U.K. clinic is drawing attention to the rise of single women using in-vitro fertilization, with some pursuing motherhood even before they've had a romantic relationship.

Dr. Maha Ragunath, medical director for the Care Fertility Clinic, told ABC News she's seeing more and more single women pursue IVF treatment without a partner since they are no longer willing to put being a parent on hold. She said in three cases, she's worked with women who have said they never had any kind of intimate relationship.

"They understand that female fertility is finite and it doesn't go on forever and ever," Ragunath said of women pursuing IVF without a partner. "It's doing themselves a favor."

Single women now make up 6 percent of Ragunath's clientele, double the percentage from two years ago, she said, noting that everyone pursuing IVF is vetted by the staff before the clinic agrees to go through with the procedure.

"The women that are treated had never been in a relationship ever and that was a personal choice," Ragunath said of the women who said they had not had a relationship prior to coming for IVF treatment. "One was a career woman and was too busy and I don't think they've given themselves the opportunity to explore their sexuality. They were well balanced and mentally prepared" for parenthood.

All three were preparing for motherhood with the support and help of their parents, Ragunath said.

When asked whether the phenomenon of "virgin" mothers was also being seen in the United States, the National Infertility Association, also known as RESOLVE, said in a statement to ABC News that "this is not a trend that we have seen or could speak to."

Read more here.

October 11, 2015 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Preserving the Fertility of Young Chemo Patients

From WVXU:

Six year old Mylah Bryant has a blood disease (aplastic anemia) that required chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Not only did doctors discuss making her well they asked her parents if they wanted to preserve tissue so she could reproduce years later without the damaging effects of chemotherapy.

It was a lot to think about, according to Mylah's dad Matthew, but because his daughter jokingly said "she wanted 1,000 children," he knew being a mother was important to her. This decision was on top of other decisions he and his wife needed to make.

“A lot of paperwork signing. You do the consents and somebody says-hey what do you think about taking out your daughter’s ovary? Um, ok, and so we kind of left it at that. There’s a lot of information, a lot of it is a blur.”

It was Children’s Fertility Navigator Olivia Frias who introduced the idea to the Bryants and explained the specifics. She sees about seven to ten new patients a week. She says, " Of course there’s so many emotions, a malignancy or maybe they have found some type of blood disorder that’s going to warrant them a BMT. (bone marrow transplant) But at the end of the day parents are very enlightened when they hear about this information and they are thankful about hearing about this.”

 Read more here.

October 2, 2015 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)