Archive for December, 2009

Surrogacy & Egg Donation Without Legal Representation

Posted on December 14th, 2009 in Egg Donation, Surrogacy | 2 Comments »

Building a Baby, with Few Ground Rules” (New York Times: December 13, 2009) should serve as a cautionary tale for individuals attempting to assemble surrogacy and egg donation plans without the guidance of lawyers experienced in these fields.  Those of us who work regularly to prepare gestational surrogacy arrangements and state-specific legal structures acknowledge that the law is considered “unsettled” in even the most surrogate-friendly venues.  Outcomes are forecast only to the best of our abilities.

Web sites like have emerged because potential traditional carriers (considerable legal risk) and gestational carriers (less legal risk, generally, but only if structured properly) are looking for a more “personal” connection with eager intended parents.  The motivation behind this is commendable, but when carriers advertise that they “already have a contract to use” and other such dangerous measures to circumvent the complexity that is part and parcel of a surrogacy arrangement, serious red flags should go up.  Intended parents often try to “go independent” and use sites like this to find a carrier in order to reduce cost and avoid working with programs and lawyers and psychologists.  Yes, costs go down this way, but risk profile goes way up.

Carriers should know that quite a few national surrogacy programs will give their preferences vis a vis intended parents serious consideration:  their input matters.  They can feel good about having their wishes followed and still have the protection afforded by a recognized program.  Intended parents should consider the benefits that come with experienced legal representation and think twice before cutting legal corners to try to save money.

Embryo Donation: No “Adoption” Required

Posted on December 2nd, 2009 in Adoption, Assisted Reproduction, Embryo Donation, Embryo Storage | 1 Comment »

With the advent of IVF, what to do with excess (or leftover) embryos became a surprising problem for infertile couples. Previously, they had no family; now, they have a family of embryos! Embryos that may be donated, without the need for adoption.

After creating a family with a few of the embryos, many of those couples (or single parents) choose to donate the excess embryos to other individuals for conception. This is a real alternative to destruction and donation to scientific research.

The legalities of donating embryos to another infertile person(s) is relatively simple: it involves a contract between the donating and recipient parties. The parties’ identities may be guarded by the respective attorneys. It is viewed as any other donation of genetic material. However, some intermediaries call this process “embryo adoption.” That is a misnomer – no adoption is necessary. As the ASRM stated this month, the correct term is, in fact, “embryo donation”. “Home visits, judicial review and other adoption procedures are not necessary and not appropriate for a patient whose case entails what is most accurately characterized medically as a tissue donation,” stated in December issue of the journal Fertility & Sterility.

Parties with excess embryos should not be dissuaded from giving their unwanted embryos to another infertile person and couples should not be discouraged from receiving them because of inaccurate beliefs that they would have to undergo an adoption.