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.
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.
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.
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.
"Clear" or "well-settled" are not words that typically arise when talking about assisted reproduction or surrogacy laws, and this can leave some families using these technologies in difficult positions. Recently, there have been an increasing number of disputed legal issues regarding embryo disposition in divorce which have been both testing and setting the legal precedent for court cases of this type.
Almost all couples think about having children, and military couples are no different from others in this respect. You should not have to sacrifice your dream of having a family when you choose to serve your country.
The use of assisted reproduction can create children for a family and bring much joy to an aspiring parent. This is the intended happy outcome. Unfortunately, medical advancements are still far outpacing our legal system, and this can lead to unhappy outcomes for those who turn to assisted reproduction to make their dreams of a family come true.
As we have mentioned before in other blog postings, there are many questions concerning the parental rights of those individuals who use assisted reproduction to start a family. When people decide that it is time to welcome children into the world, they are usually in a great place in their relationship. It is a significant commitment of time and financial resources to use assisted reproduction to have children.
In recent months, Canada has become a much discussed and promoted destination for international surrogacy arrangements, particularly since destinations such as Thailand, India, and Nepal have imposed restrictions on surrogacy.1 Clients are told that it is far cheaper than embarking on a surrogacy arrangement in the U.S. but still has the same security, professional service, and availability of surrogates. We advise caution in taking these statements at face value.