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This Current New York Law Is Odd by Ellen Trachman

Posted by Surrogatetiel on May 30, 2018  /   Posted in Media & News

Media & News

This Current New York Law Is Odd

A proposed law would overturn the 26-year-old prohibition on compensated surrogacy in New York.

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By Ellen Trachman
May 2018

Last Thursday, two New York Assemblymen — Jeffrey Dinowitz and Richard N. Gottfriend — who are the Chairs of the Judiciary and Health Committees, respectively, held a joint public hearing of their Committees. They invited experts to give testimony on a new bill before the New York Assembly, the proposed Child-Parent Security Act (CPSA). Hoping to catch up to the rest of the country, the CPSA would overturn the 26-year-old prohibition on compensated surrogacy in New York. It would also solidify parent-child relationships for children conceived with assisted reproductive technology. These two reforms would give people who need help growing their families a much-needed victory.

Given the growing number of children conceived with the help of egg donation, sperm donation, and/or surrogacy, as well as the growing number of cases with confusion and dispute in the state, this examination was overdue. So let’s hear it for New York.

Clearing Up The Confusion

One of the experts testifying at the hearing on May 24 was Yifat Shaltiel, Esq. Shaltiel is an attorney who specializes in assisted reproductive technology (ART) law, and is Co-Chair of the Reproductive Health Committee for the Women’s Bar Association of New York. Her testimony before the joint Committee meeting was compelling. She described the current New York law as the most “restrictive and punitive” in the country, since it voids all gestational carrier contracts formed in the state, and makes it per se illegal to compensate a woman who agrees to carry a child for another person or couple.

Shaltiel further described how New Yorkers who turn to gamete (egg or sperm) donors — and then use surrogates in other states — frequently have to adopt their own children. Even where one of the parents is genetically related to the child, in certain cases, New York still demands an adoption procedure. Shaltiel argued that this is out of step with the rest of the country, and described how a single man who turns to surrogacy and egg donation to have a child (his own genetic and intended child), must then go through adoption in New York in order to remove the surrogate from the birth certificate.

Adoption is no simple matter. It involves the onerous and expensive burdens of fingerprinting, paying for and coordinating a full home study, and all of the attendant paperwork and legal fees. But without completing an adoption, an intended parent would risk that the surrogate — even one with no initial intent to parent a child, and no genetic connection to a child — would still be recognized as a legal parent. That risk actually presents two problematic scenarios: one where the surrogate asserts parental rights, and one where the surrogate could be stuck being considered a mother to the child she carried.

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who is co-sponsor of the bill, emphasized this point by offering a question to Shaltiel on these scenarios involving a single dad with no spouse. “So if the single dad had been married, he would not have to adopt his own child? That seems odd.” Shaltiel responded, “Yes. It is. That is why we need this new law.” Mic drop!

Shaltiel explained after the hearing that by contrast, “in cases of a married couple, the spouse may either do an adoption proceeding or a parentage proceeding, depending on the circumstances, to remove the surrogate from the birth certificate.”

Does This Mean New York’s #1 Sperm Donor is No Longer a Dad?

One person who might be watching this legislative debate unfold is Ari Nagel. I’ve written about Nagel before, because his story briefly captured the national news media’s attention a few years ago. Nagel is the (in)famous Manhattan math professor who has kindly donated his sperm to just about anyone who wanted it to conceive a child. That includes um, transactions, in Target bathrooms, and even sexual intercourse with some hopeful moms to be.

For Nagel’s purposes, the CPSA presents some partially good news. Unlike some states, the CPSA does not include a provision that only donations involving the use of a licensed physician are covered. Instead, the proposed CPSA provides that a person who turns to an egg or sperm donor to conceive a child will be recognized as the parent of their child, without specifying any need to use a doctor. And, more importantly, that the person who donated their genetic material will not be recognized as a legal parent of the child.

So guess what? Those Target sperm transfers are likely covered. But no dice on the sexual intercourse conceptions. Those are expressly carved out by the draft of the statute.

Everybody’s Doing It

As you loyal readers know, reversing anti-surrogacy laws is so hot right now. Last year, the District of Columbia reversed its prohibition on compensated surrogacy arrangements (which even included criminal penalties!) in favor of a supportive statutory framework for such arrangements. Washington State did the same last month. New Jersey looks poised to follow as well. As I wrote about two weeks ago, it looks like Canada is considering taking a similar step.

Of course, the fact that everyone else is doing it isn’t always the best reason to do something. But the expert testimony overwhelmingly supporting the CPSA in New York provided a wealth of good reasons to open up policy in this area. Chief among the reasons, of course, is that laws act in the best interest of a child when they recognize a legal relationship between children and their parents.

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.