Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Intended Parents Lose Custody of Twins to Surrogate

This past week The New York Times ran an article on the Michigan surrogate who gave birth to the twins she later sued for custody -- and won.

Why didn't the IVF specialist at IVF Michigan insist on a legal contract between the parents and the surrogate with an experienced assisted reproduction attorney? An experienced ART attorney would have advised the couple NOT to work with a surrogate from the state of Michigan. Well, not unless they were comfortable in taking the risk of losing their children, which they did.

All IVF Centers that I work with will not do a transfer of embryos on a surrogate without legal clearance from an experienced ART attorney and this case clearly illustrates why. Intent to parent controls in California, the state where I practice, so this type of case typically does not happen here.

And why is the Intended Mother unfit to care for her children? She has not had a schizophrenic episode, in what, eight years? I was speaking with a former surrogate today and she said, "good for the Intended Mother in not wanting to harm herself or her unborn children by getting pregnant while on medication." Are you unfit to parent solely based on the fact that you have been diagnosed with a mental illness?

I cannot stress enough the importance of working with an experienced ART attorney, especially when there is no biological link between either or both parents. Cases like these should not be happening. Creating your family using a third party is expensive, but if you pass on or forget to get an attorney, the price you may pay could be much, much higher.