Steven H. Snyder & Associates Attorneys at Law

Hennepin County Adoption Law Blog

Recent case examines parental rights issue

Same-sex couples often need to go through the adoption process when they wish to start a family. Since so many states lack adequate protections of the parental rights of these couples, adoption is one way for the parents to ensure that they will be able to spend time with the child in the event that the relationship ends.

From time to time, we come across cases from other states that highlight some of the difficulties that same-sex couples encounter when trying to adopt a child. A recent case out of Nevada shows exactly what can happen when things do not go according to plan.

New surrogacy law in D.C. helps parents-to-be

Surrogacy is a highly debated and contested topic in many legislatures across the country. Despite conservative opposition based primarily on religious objections and extremely rare bad outcomes in the U.S., more and more states are proposing bills that would appropriately allow and regulate compensated surrogacy.

In fact, since the rush to ban surrogacy after a traditional surrogacy (in which the surrogate uses her own egg via artificial insemination) gone bad in 1987 (In re Baby M. New Jersey), the reality is that nearly 20 states have since allowed and/or regulated compensated surrogacy through either affirmative legislation, favorable appellate court decisions, or related laws that exempt surrogacy from adoption statutes. (Click here to see the various state laws that apply to surrogacy.)

Another case highlights parental rights of same-sex couples

We have discussed many instances of same-sex parents who have seen challenges to their parental rights because of gaps in current state laws. When the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the country, it changed the way that states interpreted laws regarding marriage. These changes have had a major impact for many couples, and have led to uncertainty about custody when relationships come to an end.

A recent case out of Arizona again emphasizes the challenges that face same-sex parents. This case involves two women who were married in California, where gay marriage was legal, and then moved to Arizona, where the courts had not yet recognized such marriages.

Things to know about surrogacy in Minnesota

Minnesota currently has no law in effect to regulate or govern surrogacy. Because of this, surrogacy has become a visible issue in the state legislature. Currently, legislators are considering a new bill that would reasonably regulate both the surrogacy process itself and the individuals who are participating in the process - including both surrogates and intended parents.

The bill has received a lot of attention from various groups throughout the state, many who support surrogacy and some who strenuously oppose the practice. In this post, we want to address some aspects of surrogacy that participants in the process should consider before resorting to the surrogacy process to start a family. 

Changes being considered that would impact the parental rights of same sex couples considering using artificial insemination

We have talked a lot on this blog about the many challenges that same sex couples face when they attempt to assert their parental rights. Because the laws vary so drastically from state to state, these parents must take additional measures to make sure that their rights are protected in the event that their relationship or marriage ends.

In some states, legislatures continue to discuss changes to laws that would make it more difficult for same sex partners to start a family. For example, in Tennessee, the legislature is currently considering a new law that would greatly impact the rights of same sex parents in the state. 


For same-sex couples, the fight for equal rights has been a long and arduous journey. For every state ruling which offers forward progress on this subject, another is passed which takes us three steps back, muddying the waters even more. This is particularly disappointing when addressing a couple's legal parental rights.


On our blog, we have highlighted various examples of things that can go wrong for couples who do not take the proper steps to protect their legal rights when starting a family using assisted reproduction. This often occurs in the relatively straightforward act of creating and storing embryos for use in in vitro fertilization using the intended parents' own genetics. Even the rich and famous are not immune to these problems as a recent case involving actress Sofia Vergara demonstrates.

Alternative Facts And Surrogacy

I have just had the time to sit down and peruse Jason Adkins' counterpoint editorial on surrogacy in the January 31 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It is disturbing how factually inaccurate it is when asserted in the context of consideration of surrogacy regulation in Minnesota. It seems we are moving as a society in the direction of political and social awareness based on a universe of "alternative facts." If someone says something without any factual foundation loud and often enough, it apparently becomes credible - it becomes "true" even when it is not. 

What is the law governing surrogate pregnancy?

Aspiring parents resort to using a surrogate pregnancy to have a child when no intended parent can gestate the child. This can happen for many different reasons. An aspiring mother may be unable to gestate because she no longer has a functioning uterus or because of her own health risks during a pregnancy. Same-sex male couples use surrogacy to supply the uterus they do not possess. 

Why seeking surrogacy in Canada is uncertain

Starting a family is harder for those suffering from uterine infertility and same-sex couples who must use a surrogate to have a child. As with other issues related to the parentage of children, the laws in each state and each country differ, and it's very complex to plan a reliable family-building process amid the discrepancies. 



Steven H. Snyder & Associates
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