The History of Surrogacy: How Surrogacy Has Evolved

HOS pic To many, surrogacy may seem like a revolutionary idea. While this holds some truth in that the legality and medical advancements are ever-changing, the fact of the matter is that surrogacy has been around for thousands of years. Ever since people have been reproducing, surrogacy has been an alternative, helpful way of doing so.

Traditional surrogacy is a relatively straight forward process, requiring a fertile man and a fertile woman, which made it an effective way of childbearing throughout human history. In fact, the bible cites an ancient instance of traditional surrogacy. Sarah, who was infertile, requested that her handmaiden, Hagar, carry her husband, Abraham’s, child.

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Medical Breakthrough: Woman Gives Birth after using her own Frozen Ovary

Woman gives Birth using her own Frozen Ovary It was reported earlier this month in the journal Human Reproduction that a woman at the age 28, has given birth using her own cryopreserved ovary. The medical breakthrough took place in Belgium, where she gave birth to a baby boy this past Fall.

The young woman was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at the age of five, her condition worsening, and at the age of 13 she was in need of a bone marrow transplant. In order to prevent rejection of the new tissue, chemotherapy or radiation is used before this procedure, which often leaves patients infertile as their ovaries may permanently stop producing eggs. Before chemotherapy doctors extracted her right ovary and froze fragments of the tissue.

Later, at the age of 25, the young woman wanted to start a family. Fifteen small tissue samples from her frozen ovary were thawed and four were grafted on to the remaining left ovary, which had atrophied. The eleven other fragments were surgically put under the skin and around the abdomen.

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Michigan Passes Law Allowing Adoption Agencies to Refuse LGBT Parents

Michigan Senate State House Last Wednesday, three bills were passed by Michigan’s Republican-controlled Senate and on Thursday they were signed by Governor Rick Snyder, making it legal for adoption agencies in Michigan to refuse their services to LGBT parents. Bills 1488, 1489, and 1490 together state that private adoption agencies can deny services to those that conflict with their “sincerely held religious beliefs”, and that the state department of social services, state government, and local government will not take any opposing action towards these agencies for doing so. This legislation is part of the country’s many Religious Freedom Acts. The Michigan bills don’t explicitly mention same-sex couples, but are obviously aimed at the LGBT community and anyone else that an agency could see as unfit in accordance with their own beliefs.  Religious freedoms are already protected by the U.S. and state constitutions, but this new  law protects agencies against potential lawsuit in cases where they feel their freedom to exercise their religious beliefs is more important than the agency’s overall goal of placing children into safe, loving, and permanent homes. Although labeled as private, Michigan adoption and foster care agencies received a combined $20 million in the 2014-2015 state budget. The state’s largest adoption agencies are faith-based.

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Circle’s President Releases Statement on Dolce & Gabbana IVF Comments

dolce gabban ivf In light of the recent story on Dolce & Gabbana comments on IVF and surrogacy, Circle’s president and founder, John Weltman, speaks up and out against the cruel words that have targeted families and children created through assisted reproduction.

“I am a gay father through surrogacy and from the same era as Dolce and Gabbana. When we grew up, gay men couldn’t have children unless they married a woman.  Assisted reproduction wasn’t possible. For most gay men of my generation, accepting your sexuality meant accepting that you would never have children. Sadly, for some men of our era, the only way to accept this huge loss was to internalize the then societal perspective that children should only be had and raised by a man and a woman. As Elton John says, this is behind the times. Though Dolce and Gabbana may feel that they have missed the boat, to call children born to their peers (like Elton) “synthetic children” and the wonderful women who carry them “rented wombs” demonstrates the very right wing “fascism” of which they accuse Elton.

“Homophobia from gays is the worst. It is like anti-Semitism from Jews or racism from blacks. We all know it exists, but it sets back the cause of Civil Rights even further than prejudicial statements by the straight world. It gives the strongest support to the detractors of gay rights and fuels their homophobic campaigns. Condemning people’s choices from a segment of a population that prides, and to a certain degree defines, itself by its choices is the greatest error that any gay man can make.”

 

JOHN WELTMAN 100x100

 

– John Weltman, Circle Surrogacy Founder and President

Ireland to Consider Surrogacy Laws

surrogacy in ireland Ireland’s Cabinet has just authorized the country’s first drafting of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy laws. The Child and Family Relationships Bill, created by former minister for justice, Alan Shatter, no longer includes his proposed provisions on surrogacy. The proposed Bill for Assisted Reproduction and Stem Cell Research would now consider surrogacy and ART arrangements and practice under the watch of the Department of Health.

While Shatter’s concerns are worthy of consideration, the news from Ireland opens up the exciting possibility for surrogacy to soon be recognized by law. Among other things, the proposed bill would consider the transfer of parentage from a surrogate to an intended parent and would require at least one of the intended parents to be genetically related to the child born through surrogacy.

Frances Fitzgerald, Alan Shatter’s successor, describes this reform of family law “…[a]s a major step forward. It is a substantial and detailed response to the reality of family life in Ireland today.” While many steps will follow, the first has made a monumental stride in the right direction.

 

Are you living outside of the U.S. and interested in surrogacy? Learn more from our free guide.


international surrogacy

photo credit: Irish Tricolour via photopin (license)

New York Surrogacy Law: A Look at the Child-Parent Security Act Bill

new york surrogacy laws

Following Washington D.C.’s lead from earlier this month, the state of New York is reevaluating its ban on surrogacy arrangements by re-filing the Child-Parent Security Act bill for further consideration. Currently, the state’s statute declares any surrogacy contracts to be void, requiring New York residents to pursue surrogacy counsel in other states.

The bill would allow New York intended parents to establish secure parentage of children born through surrogacy, which would be recognized under New York’s state laws. This would eliminate many of the hurdles associated with pursuing surrogacy in other states. Further, the bill would grant gestational surrogates in the state of New York the rights to receive compensation, which is currently punishable by law.

This concept of “intended parentage” is not far-fetched, but reflects the ever-changing dynamic of the modern American family. New York is one of seven states in which surrogacy is illegal, including the state of Washington, Louisiana, Nebraska, Michigan, New Jersey, and Washington D.C., which may soon change.

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Surrogacy Law in D.C. May Soon Change

D.C. Surrogacy LawCurrently, intended parents cannot pursue surrogacy arrangement in Washington, D.C. But hope floats as 11 sitting members of the D.C. Council unanimously introduced a new bill last week.

The Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2015 seeks to put in place a legal framework for intended parents looking to pursue surrogacy. The bill also aims to establish a legal relationship between a surrogate-born child and his or her intended parents regardless of marital status or biological relation to the child. Further, it ensures that a surrogate and her spouse or partner do not have any parental rights to the child.

“Compared to the 50 states, District law is among the most restrictive with regard to surrogacy agreements, which is out of step with our commitment as a city to equality and family,” Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) said in a statement after introducing the bill. “I believe surrogacy should be an option for District residents who wish to have children.”

The bill, which would require surrogates to undergo medical and psychological screenings and intended parents to have a join consultation with a mental health professional, reflects input from various community groups, including LGBT advocacy organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Family Equality Council, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). Intended parents would also be required to pay the surrogate mother all reasonable expenses related to carry the child to term. If passed, the law would also implement safeguards for the child, surrogate, and intended parents, including a “character” provision prohibiting people with felonies and misdemeanors from pursuing such arrangements.

To learn more about the surrogacy process and laws you in your state, set up a free consultation.







photo credit: Phil Romans via photopin cc

2014’s Most Popular Baby Names

most popular baby names of 2014 The polls have closed and the results are in! BabyCenter’s annual list of the most popular baby names has hit the web. While some parents strayed from the pack with what Baby Center deems “unusual and surprising baby names,” which include: Moon; Rhythm; Yolo (someone was bound to do it); Saffron; Wolf; Denim; and Heavenleigh, there aren’t any major surprises topping the popularity charts for 2014.

Here’s a roundup of BabyCenter’s top 10 most popular baby names for both boys and girls in 2014.

 

GIRLS:                                                                          BOYS:

  1. Sophia
  2. Emma
  3. Olivia
  4. Ava
  5. Isabella
  6. Mia
  7. Zoe
  8. Lily
  9. Emily
  10. Madelyn
  1. Jackson
  2. Aiden
  3. Liam
  4. Lucas
  5. Noah
  6. Mason
  7. Ethan
  8. Caden
  9. Jacob
  10. Logan

 

top baby names of 2014

 

 

 

Sophia and Jackson can add another notch into their belts for coming in first. Last year, both baby names came in on top, too. Sophia is familiar with the position, keeping the crown for the fifth straight year. Will she make it to six titles after 2015?

If you’re in the market for good baby name suggestions, have no fear. BabyCenter has compiled a list of the top 100 names for both genders, which you can refer back to for input. Study up! Happy choosing, and here’s to a happy and healthy 2015!

photo credit: Wondermonkey2k via photopin cc
photo credit: hayleesherwood via photopin cc

Year in Review: The Top Surrogacy Stories from Every Month in 2014

Year in Review From the wave of marriage equality sweeping the United States and the heartbreaking stories out of Thailand, to a European court decision paving the way for less restrictive policies across the continent, it has been a very busy year in the surrogacy world. As the number of intended parents choosing surrogacy has grown, we’ve seen legal barriers to the practice fall down, as countries recognize that children should be protected regardless of how they are brought into the world. We have also seen the need for more conversations, more regulation, and more screening to make sure that we not only continue to help childless parents create families, but that we do so while protecting the best interests of their children or future children.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest stories we saw in 2014.

January: Kansas Lawmaker Drops Bill Banning Surrogacy
After asking the Kansas Senate Public Health Committee to consider a bill that would ban surrogacy and mirror the outdated legislation of the District of Columbia (where surrogacy is illegal), a state senator dropped her plans to criminalize the practice after facing backlash.

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