Thursday, December 09, 2010

Another Sperm Donor fighting to become "Dad"

Another gay sperm donor is fighting for parental rights in the U.K. While the lesbian couple, Stacey Cassin and her partner, Kate, claim they had a "gentlemen's agreement" with Mark Hartill that he could see the child, they state they all agreed he would have no parental rights. In other words, no legal contract between them.

But the couple told The Sun that he had become “besotted” with the baby girl after seeing her several times and now wants weekly access to the child and to be recognised as a parent.

Stacey claimed he had broken their “verbal agreement." She added: ”We are determined to fight this through the courts, though we never wanted it to come to this.”

The couple found Mr. Hartill through a gay magazine where they state he said he wanted very little involvement with the child.

Recently, a British court ruled that a gay sperm donor could spend 152 days with his children. This donor also said in his ad that he wanted very little involvement with his children; however, the court ruled:

But the Appeal Court was told that the father now played a central role in the children's lives, including taking them to doctors' appointments and paying their school fees.

Obviously, both these cases highlight the need for experienced legal counsel. In the second case, I'm not sure a legal agreement would have protected the couple, as by his very actions, the sperm donor became a parent, which can legally occur wether their is a genetic link to the child or not.

Working with a known donor can be a great way to have your family. Just speak with an experienced attorney first about all the legal possibilities.

What say you?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ireland's High Court rules IVF children not owed duty of care after mix-up

The High Court in Ireland ruled that not only were the children not owed a duty of care but they were not entitled to damages. The judge also stated the children had no other legitimate expectation other than to be born healthy and well.

Their parents, sued an unnamed Health and Social Services Trust for alleged negligence in the insemination.

They claimed the mix-up, led to racial taunting and emotional distress.

A judge also ruled they were not entitled to an award for damages.

Mr Justice Gillen said the children, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also had no legitimate expectation other than being born healthy and well.

Instead of using a white donor as desired, the mother's eggs were inseminated with sperm labelled Caucasian (Cape coloured) - a label given to a mixed-race community in a South African province.

One potential implication is that a child born to a white person from such a donor may go on to have different skin-coloured children themselves if they have a mixed-race partner.

After hearing the case in private Mr Justice Gillen said: "The court is thus being asked to venture into the complexities of the creation of life, involving a unique physical and scientific process and to develop the law to deal with an instance where harvested eggs were fertilised with that which has been termed inappropriate donor sperm."

He said it was for parliament "to grasp the nettle" of whether a duty of care ought to be owed in circumstances such as the case before him.

"Absent the imprimatur of parliament I am not content to find that these plaintiffs have sufficient status to be owed a duty of care," the judge ruled.

The mother of the children had issued claims for personal injuries, loss and damage against the trust who provided her IVF treatment.

The court heard the children are darker in complexion than their parents and of different skin colour.

Their colour was also said to be markedly different from each other.

It was claimed they have been subjected to abusive and derogatory name calling from other children, and comments about the difference between them and their parents.

It even led to the children questioning whether they were adopted.

The trust stated that sperm used in the case was not mislabelled, but that a correct label was misunderstood by a staff member.

'Sympathy and concern'

In his ruling, Mr Justice Gillen acknowledged the authority has already admitted liability to the parents and is willing to negotiate settlement.

He also stressed that their current circumstances "could not fail to engage both sympathy and concern".

But despite the perception of how their children had suffered, the judge said: "The presence of persons sufficiently misguided and cruel as to issue racist comments directed to these children is no basis for a conclusion that they are somehow damaged.

"I have therefore come to the view that these children have not suffered any legally recognisable 'loss or damage' connected to the alleged breach by the defendant."

After dismissing the parents' claims, the judge ruled that anonymous details of the case could be published.

"I believe the issue of IVF - a subject on which differing views are held by the public at large - and the general context of what has happened in this instance, are matters of general public interest on which I should give effect to the right of the press to freedom of expression," he said.

"Ordering that the court file be sealed and that there should be no publication of any account of the pleadings or the determination of this case would be a step too far.

"I am not persuaded that general discussion of the issues in this case will afford any disturbance of confidence in the IVF service or lead to irresponsible investigative journalism."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Faith Salie Takes Charge by Freezing Her Eggs

I watched this program yesterday morning and I thought I would pass it along as it is not only useful information, but a very well done piece on egg freezing. Egg freezing is not a guarantee that at a later point you will be able to achieve a pregnancy and have a child, but it offers hope where just a few years ago there was none.

And the night before this aired my husband and I were out to dinner and we met a young woman who had her eggs frozen. Unlike Faith, she only has three so we told her she will need more as it's unlikely that all three will survive the thaw. She agreed and we went on to talk about how great it was that a woman in her 20s had already become proactive about her fertility.

Feel free to comment below!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Media Misses Mark in "Sperm Donor" Paternity Case

Just as I recently post on my Facebook page, Ari Ezra Waldman and others got it wrong in the recent paternity case between Karen B and Daniel H. As Daniele's attorney David Pisarra clears up the misconceptions in his article, Media Misses Mark on Story:

This case turned on one issue, whether or not she knew what she was doing when she signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP). The VDP is a simple, one-page form that is prepared by the hospital when a child is born to unmarried parents. It is written in language a sixth grader can understand. Primarily it is used to lock fathers down to paternity for child support. In California, if you don't contest the document within 60 days, it is considered a judgment for all purposes.

But evidently, if you are a woman, you can wait two years, all the while collecting child support from the presumed father, and then you can change your mind. You can claim that when you signed it, three days after giving birth, that you were too drugged and tired to know what you were signing. Not one woman I have asked about this believes she didn't know what she was doing three days after birth. Categorically their response is, "she knew."

As this case so clearly illustrates, anyone can sue anyone for anything in this country. It doesn't it make it accurate or true. There was a time when the media checked their facts and attempted to get the story straight. It looks like this time was not one of them.


Friday, September 17, 2010

USA Today's Who's a family? Study finds shifting views of unmarried, gay couples

This article was posted on Thursday afternoon and while strides have been made in the acceptance of non-traditional families, it is disheartening to see that Americans give more status to families with pets than to gay couples.

It reminds me of a book that I'm currently reading, The Help, which is set in the 1960s during the civil rights era and focuses on African American maids. Needless to say, some of the events in the book were heinous, but is was the daily discrimination, the hurts, the slights, that devastated these women.

It strikes me as odd that anyone would say that being homosexual is a choice. Why would anyone choose to be discriminated in this world? It's hard enough without adding that to your life. My 2 cents.

Feel free to comment below!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Surrogacy for Gay Men – Melbourne Community Forum – 22 May 2010

When: Saturday 22 May 2010 from 10.00 A.M. TO 1:00 P.M.

Many Gay men are now becoming Dads via surrogacy. There are Surrogacy Agencies in the United States, Canada and India all helping Australian Gay men become fathers. Altruistic Surrogacy is also now legal in Victoria and some other states of Australia. This forum with be the fifth held in Melbourne and will be presented by members from Gay Dads Victoria. The free forum will be held in Prahran and provide an opportunity for gay men to find out more about Surrogacy and the options available in Australia and other countries.

Over the years the forum has been the start of the journey to parenthood for many gay men (myself being one of them!). This is a great opportunity for interested gay singles or couples to have some of their questions answered:

- how does surrogacy work
- how do the surrogacy laws work in the US, Canada, India and Australia
- how do I bring my child back in to Australia
- can anyone do it
- how much does it cost

This will also be an opportunity to meet other Surro Dads and Dads to be and learn more about their journeys.

Monday, January 04, 2010

New Jersey Rules for Gestational Carrier

If you follow my tweets (@surrogacylawyer) you know about the Superior Court judge in New Jersey's ruling that the gestational carrier who bore twins for her brother is now their legal mother.

As a follow-up, there is great piece today in the Huffington Post by Jacob M. Appel about this ruling and how New Jersey missed an opportunity to not only move away from the Baby M case and differentiate between traditional and gestational surrogacy, but also to allow women to make the decision if surrogacy is right for them. As Mr Appel says so eloquently, no one argues that men are being degraded or demeaned if they decided to become sperm donors. Why are surrogates any different?

And, if men were able to become surrogates, they would be applauded as entrepreneurs. I agree with Mr. Appel that women are perfectly able to make the decision for themselves and should be allowed to do so in every state, not just California, among others.

What say you?