Over the past couple of weeks, we have been discussing the impact advanced fertility options have had on family courts in Illinois and the rest of the United States.
While fertility options such as in vitro fertilization and surrogacy are allowing people the wonderful opportunity to become parents, they are also creating some brand new child custody and fathers’ rights issues.
In past posts, we have discussed how California is currently considering a law that would afford sperm donor fathers more rights to the children they helped to create as well as a Kansas case addressing whether a sperm donor should be liable for child support.
Today, we will be discussing another new child custody issue: fathers who opt to become single dads through surrogacy.
According to a recent news report, though still relatively uncommon, this is a trend that is becoming more popular throughout the United States.
A California psychologist who provides surrogacy-related counseling said that some men are ready to start families even though they haven’t found a partner yet, so they look into surrogacy. Because of the high costs, a few are turned away but others decide to go through with hiring a surrogate to bring a child into the world.
Of course, there are also many legal issues that need to be addressed, including minimizing the chances that the egg donor or surrogate mother will claim parental rights. A major legal battle can result when a donor or surrogate decides to pursue custody rights.
Adoption and surrogacy laws also vary greatly from state to state, so it’s important for those considering surrogacy to consult an attorney who is familiar with the laws of their jurisdiction. While some states like California have laws specifically addressing surrogacy, others are still trying to catch up.
As you can see, today’s vast array of fertility options have created many new legal issues in family courts throughout the United States. For people considering options such as sperm donation, artificial insemination and surrogacy, it’s vital to consult an experienced family law attorney for legal advice.
Source: Associated Press, “Via surrogacy, some men opt to become single dads,” David Crary, Aug. 31, 2013