Media & News

Fox 5 News Interview: Will Vergara be forced to have children?

Posted by Surrogatetiel on December 13, 2016  /   Posted in Media & News

Media & News

Fox 5 News Interview: Will Vergara be forced to have children?

Fertility law expert Yifat Shaltiel says the main issue in the battle between actress Sofia Vergara and her ex-fiance Nick Loeb over her frozen embryos is whether she will ultimately be forced to have children against her will.

Best Practices For Your Surrogacy Journey

Posted by Surrogatetiel on August 30, 2016  /   Posted in Media & News

Media & News

Best Practices For Your Surrogacy Journey

By Yifat Shaltiel, Esq.

More and more couples and individuals are turning to surrogacy in the United States (U.S.) to pursue their dream of building a family. While the laws vary within the U.S. from state to state, most states’ laws are favorable to surrogacy.

Surrogacy has long been practiced in the U.S. and prior to proceeding with a surrogate the road to establishing parentage is clearly laid out. While the total cost of surrogacy in the U.S. can vary from $80,000 to over $100,000, most couples and individuals calculate that the guaranteed parental legal status and a peaceful surrogacy journey are priceless.

When proceeding with a surrogacy arrangement in the U.S., engaging the assistance of a reputable surrogacy agency that is also directed by a Reproductive Law Attorney, such as Surrogate Steps, LLC, can ensure a peaceful and secure surrogacy journey.

Unfortunately, we have seen too many incidents in countries such as Australia, Thailand, India, the U.S., and elsewhere that have resulted in surrogacy disasters, due largely to lack of surrogacy-friendly regulations. For example, there are no requirements to verify that all parties undergo essential screening to protect all parties involved.

Following good practices and thorough screening for surrogates and intended parents is essential to ensure that all parties, including a future child, are protected emotionally, financially, and legally. Below are explanations of some of the best practices to follow in your surrogacy journey.

Surrogate Screening:

Working with a surrogacy agency that will properly screen your surrogate is essential. Examples of what the screening entails include some of the following requirements:

  • A full medical records review of the surrogate, including all birth records, to ensure that previous pregnancies were normal and there is no risk to the surrogate or a future child.
  • Verification that the surrogate resides in a smoke-free and drug-free home and does not have a history of tobacco use or alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Verification that the surrogate is fertile and of child bearing age, usually between 21 and 38 years old.
  • Verification that the surrogate is at a healthy weight. If the surrogate is overweight or underweight, then the surrogate may be in a high-risk pregnancy category.
  • Verification that the surrogate is financially stable and that finances are not the main or sole reason for her decision to become a surrogate.

Criminal Background Checks:

A simple criminal background check offers a great deal of protection for all parties, including the IP’s, surrogate and future child. Without a criminal background check, there is no guarantee that IP’s are not child sex off enders or that the surrogate or her husband have not been convicted of any crimes, especially crimes involving fraud.

Home Study:

Many agencies do not conduct a home study of the surrogate, but such an evaluation is crucial. While the surrogate might seem to be a wonderful person, with no criminal background or drug and alcohol problems, these checks do not ensure that her home is a safe place to carry a pregnancy. A home study will verify that that the surrogate’s residence is a stable environment for her to safely maintain the surrogate pregnancy.

Psychological Screening:

Not all fertility clinics require that all parties undergo a psychological evaluation. However, the right agency will assist in scheduling this essential evaluation. It is vital for the health of a surrogacy journey that a professional evaluates the surrogate’s feelings about key issues, such as abortion, termination, selective reduction, and turning over the baby to the IP’s after giving birth. While such issues must also be addressed in legal agreements between all the parties, a psychologist trained in surrogacy is able to ensure that all the parties are emotionally suited to a successful surrogacy arrangement.

Escrow Account:

While surrogacy arrangements can be costly, the surrogate does not receive her full compensation in a single lump sum. In fact, the surrogate’s main compensation will commence once there is a positive pregnancy confirmation, and she will then continue to be paid on a monthly basis. There have been some unfortunate surrogacy arrangements where the IP’s have decided not to proceed with the surrogacy after the confirmation of a pregnancy, leaving the surrogate with no means of providing for the pregnancy or coping with the aftermath of such a decision by the IP’s. Having the surrogate’s full compensation and estimated expenses held in an escrow account, especially an escrow account that is held by an attorney (a client trust account), ensures that the surrogate will be fully protected, and avoids future financial issues that may arise.

Applying best surrogacy practices will off er the much needed protection for all parties involved so that everyone will enjoy a peaceful surrogacy journey. For more information about best practices for your surrogacy journey visit us at or follow us on Facebook at Surrogate Steps.

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Yifat Shaltiel, Surrogate Steps Director & Reproductive Law Attorney, Explains How to Avoid an Embryo Dispute

Posted by Surrogatetiel on October 26, 2015  /   Posted in Media & News

Media & News

Yifat Shaltiel, Surrogate Steps Director & Reproductive Law Attorney, Explains How to Avoid an Embryo Dispute

Recently published a recent article for CNY Fertility

As more couples turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF) to build their family, the storage of unused frozen embryos for future use is increasingly common. While couples often sign an agreement specifying how these embryos are to be utilized, when couples separate, their views on how to use these frozen embryos may change, leaving the courts to decide the fate of these embryos.

The technology enabling the freezing of embryos dates back to the mid-1980s, and as couples have been separating in greater numbers, disputes over the disposition of frozen embryos has also risen. Before IVF takes place, couples generally sign a contract specifying what will happen with the embryos in the event that the couple separates, divorces, or if one or both of them die. The options as to the disposition of the embryos are typically (1) to destroy the embryos, (2) to donate the embryos to medical research or a third party recipient, or (3) the couple can decide that they will jointly have authority or that only one of them will have the sole authority as to the disposition of the embryos. In most cases, couples make this decision while they are at the fertility clinic, and without consulting an attorney. With the passage of time situations can change, and especially after a separation, a couple may no longer have the same intentions regarding the use of their frozen embryos.

At the time that a couple signs the contract, they are often focused primarily on building their family, and may not even fathom the possibility of separation or divorce. It is uncertain how much instinct and feelings versus rational thought and deliberation operate when couples sign this contract. Do they ask themselves important questions such as: Do they really want to have children with their ex-spouse? Do they understand that they will be responsible for child support? Do they understand the child may have a right to inherit? Contracts are important and we should be able to rely on them and know that they will be enforced. However, does a person want to be forced to have a child and be responsible for that child long after the couple has separated or divorced?

As courts have been ruling in these cases, they have consistently declared that embryos are not persons and that they are not life. However, the courts have also recognized that embryos have a potential for life and cannot be allocated like an iPad or a house. Having said that, when it comes to the disposition of embryos, the laws vary from state to state, and the courts have generally favored the right not to procreate (but not always). Overall, courts have been applying one of three approaches: (1) they enforce the contract between the parties; (2) they use a “balance test” to balance the right to procreate versus the right not to procreate. Generally, they favor the right not to procreate so long as the other party has a reasonable possibility of achieving parenthood by other means; or (3) the courts can apply the “contemporaneous mutual consent” approach, requiring a mutual consent by both parties for the disposition of the embryos, often resulting in the embryos remaining frozen until an agreement is reached between the parties.

So what should couples do? Before creating and freezing embryos know the views of your spouse or other party regarding the disposition of the embryos, read the contract carefully and ask important questions such as, do you really want to give your spouse sole authority as to the disposition of the embryos? Do you really want children with your ex? And just as you would seek the advice of an attorney with a prenuptial agreement or other important contracts seek the advice of a reproductive law attorney to understand all of the legal implications of what you are signing.

Our Director & reproductive law attorney Yifat Shaltiel speaks to Fox News about frozen embryos

Posted by Surrogatetiel on May 28, 2015  /   Posted in Media & News

Media & News

Our Director & reproductive law attorney Yifat Shaltiel speaks to Fox News about frozen embryos

Experts Speak on Reproductive Rights

It’s made headlines in Hollywood and has become an increasingly popular method for those wanting children later in life.

Egg and embryo freezing may seem like the perfect alternative to someone who’s undergoing medical treatment such as cancer or for someone whose biological clock is ticking away so to speak.

Starting the process can take weeks of doctor’s visits and hormone therapy before a woman is ready.

“In the next month, or any other month after that, she can fertilize the eggs and then transfer them with much less process,” said Doctor Robert Kiltz, owner/director of CNY fertility center.

But a fertilized egg — or embryo, belongs to two people.

“If you create embryos and freeze the embryos its no longer just yours you have that now with someone else.Unless you’re using a donor unless your using an anonymous donor,” said Reproductive Law Attorney Yifat Shaltiel.

And if they break up.

“Then it becomes more sticky and that’s where lawyers and courts come into play,” said Kiltz.

Most fertility clinics require parties to sign documentation that clarifies all the details about the embryo.”

Yifat Shaltiel, Reproductive Law Attorney said, “Whether they are coming to us looking for us to help them to find a surrogate or if they need us to write a contract for them we always tell them those consent forms are very very important it is a legal contract between you two.”

Experts stress you need to do your research prior to making a the decision to freeze embryos or eggs.

Watch the video here.

Surrogacy Cost and Health Insurance By Yifat Shaltiel (Published by Building Your Family national magazine)

Posted by Surrogatetiel on November 20, 2014  /   Posted in Media & News

Media & News

Surrogacy Cost and Health Insurance

surrogacyHow to ensure that the gestational carrier’s pregnancy will be covered.

Published by Building Your Family Magazine

By Yifat Shaltiel, Esq.
November 2014

The total cost of surrogacy can range from $50,000 to more than $100,000, so cost is a key concern when choosing this route. One of the largest variables, and an expense that has seen significant change recently, is health insurance for the gestational surrogate.

Surrogacy health insurance options

It used to be common for insurance providers to restrict or deny maternity coverage for surrogate pregnancies. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) now mandates that maternity care be covered by qualified health insurance plans as an “essential health benefit.” However, non-qualified plans, such as self-funded nonfederal governmental plans, union, and some individual carriers as well as some small group plans, may opt to exclude maternity coverage and/or surrogacy-related maternity care. Some plans may also include language that designates intended parents as the responsible parties for surrogacy-related maternity costs. Therefore, it is important to consult a reproductive law attorney or a qualified insurance broker specializing in insurance for reproductive medicine to review the surrogate’s health plan.
If a surrogate does not have coverage or has a plan that excludes surrogacy, intended parents may opt to pay the full costs of the pregnancy and delivery, may use a financial case manager, or may negotiate rates as self pay with all providers. According to a 2013 study by the Truven Health Analytics, the average cost of a non-complicated pregnancy and delivery without insurance is $22,000. However, the complexity of a pregnancy and delivery cannot be predicted and the medical costs associated with a high risk pregnancy can exceed $100,000.

Intended parents may also purchase surrogacy insurance. These policies can be costly, with premiums of approximately $10,000 and deductibles that can start at $15,000 for a singleton pregnancy and $30,000 for two fetuses.

An alternate and more affordable option is to purchase, through the ACA-based insurance exchanges or private insurance companies, an individual plan that may cover the surrogate’s maternity care. The premiums typically range from $300 to $500 per month. Some plans do not have a deductible and all are mandated to cover certain preventative health services, such as screening for gestational diabetes. Out-of-pocket costs for a pregnancy under an individual plan cannot exceed $6,350 for in-network covered services. However, IPs must not neglect to have these plans reviewed to ensure that there is no language excluding surrogate pregnancies.

Navigating ACA enrollment periods

Individuals can purchase health insurance only during an open enrollment period. The open enrollment period for 2015 runs from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. You may sign up during a non-enrollment period if there is a “Qualifying Life Event,” such as marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, a move, a change in employment status, or the loss of other health care coverage. Pregnancy is not considered a qualifying life event, so it is important to ensure that proper health insurance is secured prior to proceeding with a surrogate.

Deciding on back-up coverage

Even in cases where a surrogate’s health plan is believed to cover a surrogacy pregnancy, some professionals will recommend that intended parents purchase a secondary, or back-up, insurance policy. These policies provide intended parents with the assurance that the surrogacy-related maternity costs will be covered in the event that the surrogate’s primary insurance provider refuses to pay. Secondary plans can be as costly as surrogacy insurance. If the primary insurance covers everything and the back-up insurance is never used, many of these plans offer a refund of 50 percent or more of their total payment or charge only a minimum premium.