Protect Your Parental Rights in Assisted Reproduction in New Jersey
The use of assisted reproductive technology has expanded over the years, generating questions about parental rights among couples.
Sometimes, couples want to have children but cannot conceive on their own. Fortunately, technological advances have made it possible to conceive through surrogates. If you or someone close to you is considering assisted reproduction, you will want to be aware of your options and the legal details they each entail, discussed more thoroughly below. Contact the Montanari Law Group if you would like to speak with a lawyer about parental rights in your particular assisted reproduction case in New Jersey.
Delineating the New Parentage Statute
This statute establishes a parent and child relationship between a child and their adoptive parents or a child’s natural parents. Women demonstrate maternity by giving birth to the child; the father’s name is on the birth certificate without a second thought. Occasionally, there are issues regarding paternity, and further proof is necessary. When it comes to assisted reproduction, the procedure and parentage can be called into question by any parties, and couples need to be ready for possible conflict.
Possibilities for Assisted Reproduction in New Jersey
There are many kinds of assisted reproduction possibilities. One is IVF, also known as in-vitro fertilization. This is where an egg and sperm are joined in a lab and then implanted in the woman’s uterus. IVF produces the best results of all the reproductive therapies and is the most flexible because if the couple experiences fertility issues, a donated egg, sperm, or both can be used. Other similar procedures are intracytoplasmic sperm injection, intrafallopian gamete transfer, and zygote intrafallopian transfer, all of which involve the artificial fertilization or placement of embryos in the mother-to-be’s body.
Sperm donations can be placed in a sperm bank for a couple to use at their discretion when they are ready to have a family. They can also be used anonymously. Traditional surrogacy involves using a surrogate who goes through IVF to get pregnant using the prospective father’s sperm. The egg is hers so that the child will have half of her genetic makeup. Hopefully, the child is carried to term and given to the intended parents once born. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is used only as a vessel to carry the baby. The sperm and egg are donated from the intended parents, fertilized in a lab, and implanted in the surrogate’s uterus. There is no shared genetic material between the surrogate and the embryo.
Handling Parental Rights When Using Assisted Reproduction
When using donor sperm for IVF, The father is considered the natural parent as long as he gives written consent, is overseen by a physician, and the IVF procedure is completed and noted on record by a physician. Suppose a couple, meaning to save money on health expenses, chooses to attempt insemination themselves and are successful. In that case, there is a possibility that the sperm donor could fight them for parental and custodial rights.
In the case of traditional surrogacy, the parents cannot force the surrogate to give up her maternal rights until 72 hours have passed. Because the baby’s mother is genetically linked, she can refuse to give up her baby. Gestational surrogacy provides more protection for the couple than traditional surrogacy because the child has both of the intended parent’s genetic material; however, it is possible if the carrier changes her mind and wants to keep the baby.
Ways to Protect Potential Parents in Assisted Reproduction Cases
There are several ways potential parents can protect themselves in their efforts to have a family. While in other cases, protections are sorely needed. One of the most critical points is that any medical procedure should be done in a certified doctor’s office. Choosing to attempt IVF at home in DIY style could not only endanger the woman’s health but not open the door to the sperm donor being given parental rights. This goes for married, common law, or same-sex couples.
Traditional surrogacy requires the intended parents to adopt their child after the delivery and 72-hour waiting period have passed. Pre-birth agreements or contracts are null and void. Protections can be established by establishing a relationship with the surrogate that includes discussions regarding expectations and what will happen after the birth. Parents involved with traditional surrogacy are exposed to trouble because the baby is genetically linked to the surrogate.
Gestational surrogacy is more straightforward as the sperm and egg belong to the intended parents. In this instance, parents can put their names on the child’s birth certificate before the baby’s birth, although they will still need to wait 72 hours before being given the child. A surrogacy contract is acceptable if it follows the requirements given in the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act. All parties must agree to and sign the contract containing both parties’ legal and financial rights, obligations, and expectations under the observance of their respective attorneys.
Consult with a Little Falls NJ Family Lawyer About the Terms of Your Agreement
Choosing assisted reproduction is a weighty decision. It is expensive, sometimes disappointing, and scary, but having the family you have always dreamed of can make the entire journey well worth it. The laws and requirements surrounding assisted reproduction can be confusing in New Jersey. It is important to have a family law attorney with experience in this field who can help you in your efforts to protect your parental rights if you opt to have a child through assisted reproduction. Or perhaps you are a surrogate looking for legal assistance before or during your surrogacy. You have as much right to representation as anyone else does, and equally important interests to protect.
The family lawyers at the Montanari Law Group have the experience and know-how you need to begin your journey in Woodland Park, Ringwood, Elmwood Park, Totowa, Clifton, Hackensack, Hawthorne, Essex Fells, and throughout Essex, Bergen, and Passaic County. Your legal representation must be on board with your expectations in this new stage of your life. We can offer you excellent legal options that keep you protected. Call our offices at (973) 233-4396 or toll-free at (888) 877-7985 for a free consultation. You can also request a call from us online.