Rich-Vaughn-blog-Louisiana- Surrogacy- Bill

Louisiana Surrogacy Bill Advances from Bad to Worse

Recent efforts by Louisiana lawmakers to bring clarity to the state’s surrogacy laws have gone from bad to worse. In 2013, SB 162, carried by a state senator who, with his wife, has two children born via surrogacy, was passed out of the legislature only to be vetoed by Governor Bobby Jindal, who sided with religious conservative opponents.

This time around, the sponsor of a similar bill, HB 187, enlisted the support of the Louisiana Family Forum, a right-wing conservative organization that campaigned vociferously against SB 162. But the bill passed the Louisiana House 79-14 earlier this month and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary A.

HB 187 places severe restrictions on what kind of surrogacy is allowed and what kind of intended parents are allowed to participate; and, under HB 187, those who undertake surrogacy not in accordance with the law could face stiff legal penalties.

Gestational surrogacy would only be allowed for a man and a woman, married in accordance with Louisiana law, using their own genetics.

Louisiana law currently does not address at all the legal rights of parents, surrogates or children born of surrogacy. Surrogacy is not illegal, but surrogacy agreements are not enforceable in Louisiana courts. The surrogate is deemed the legal mother of the child, and the intended mother has no parental rights, even though the embryo may be the biological child of the intended mother and intended father.

Clearly these lapses in the law need to be corrected.

Under the proposed law, only one type of surrogacy is allowed - gestational surrogacy, in which an embryo is implanted in the surrogate, who then carries the child and gives birth. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate and the child are not biologically related. Gestational surrogacy is contrasted with “traditional surrogacy.” In a “traditional surrogate” arrangement, the surrogate is artificially inseminated with the intended father's sperm or donor sperm. Thus, the surrogate is genetically related to the child. In a gestational surrogacy, the surrogate has no genetic relationship to the child. This is a good start, but the rest of HB 187 has flaws that are so onerous as to be worse than doing nothing at all. As The New Orleans Advocate reports:

Under HB187, Louisiana’s courts only would oversee surrogacy contracts made by a legally married man and woman who contribute their own genetic material. In other words, it would exclude gay or lesbian couples as well as couples trying to contract with a surrogate using donor eggs.

The lengthy amendments also would set up gestational surrogacy data collection for details about the embryo transfer, the birth, the medical reason for the surrogacy and other information.

The data would go to the state’s vital records registry. The identities of the surrogate and the parents would remain confidential.

Here are comments from Equality Louisiana (EQLA), a non-profit advocacy group for LGBT rights, about AB 187 as amended and passed out of the Louisiana House:

Financial compensation to the surrogate would actually constitute a “sale of a child” under Louisiana law.

In addition to establishing a flawed legal framework for gestational surrogacy only, the bill now does the following:

1) Adds some additional anti-gay language—intended parents are now not just "married persons," they are "a man and a woman married in accordance with Louisiana law." This despite the fact that same-sex couples still cannot actually use the form of surrogacy that this bill provides for because each partner cannot donate gametes—it's purely to make sure everyone knows the legislative intent is to exclude same-sex couples.

2) Criminalizes surrogacy contracts that don't meet the requirements this bill sets out—it would add to our "sale of minor children" statute criminal penalties of up to ten years in prison and a $50,000 fine for entering into, arranging, providing for, advertising for, or otherwise having anything to do with a surrogacy contract that does not meet the requirements this bill sets forth. So it doesn't just *not recognize* other kinds of surrogacy contracts, it would now punish people who tried to use them.

3) Establishes a data collection program to record medical information about surrogates and intended parents, information about doctors involved with procedures related to surrogacy and what procedures they perform, and directs the Department of Health and Hospitals to create penalties for failing to report such data.

HB 187 would allow surrogates to be compensated for medical, legal and travel expenses and for lost wages in the event the surrogate was put on bed rest during the pregnancy—but any other financial compensation to the surrogate would actually constitute a “sale of a child” under Louisiana law.

Developments such as these in Louisiana, sadly, remind us that unrestricted reproductive freedom, whether for LGBT people or for those who are unmarried, single or infertile, is not yet won.

Rich Vaughn
Richard Vaughn
rich@iflg.net

Attorney Rich Vaughn is founder and principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms focused exclusively on assisted reproductive technology, or ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation. Rich is co-author of the book “Developing A Successful Assisted Reproduction Technology Law Practice,” American Bar Association Publishing, 2017.

Peiya Wang
PEIYA WANG(王培娅)
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya received her bachelor’s degree from Beijing Technologies and Business University, where she majored in Marketing. She moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeast University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Luis Sosa
LUIS SOSA
Paralegal

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Toni Hughes
TONI HUGES
Paralegal

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”

Miesha Cowart
MIESHA COWART
Financial Coordinator

Miesha Cowart joined IFLG as a financial specialist in 2014 following a successful career in development and business finance. Miesha previously worked for 10 years in the construction industry as a controller and for 13 years as Development Coordinator for the non-profit U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In her free time, Miesha works with “Next Generation” at her church. “They are my heartbeats!” she says of the youth in her community.

Kim
KIM DEVEREAUX
Paralegal

Kim has over 25 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager of surrogacy and egg donation cases, and is also responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn
RICHARD B. VAUGHN
Founder

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, most recently as a founder of and speaker at the first Cambridge University International Surrogacy Symposium held in June 2019, as immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, and as a popular presenter to law schools, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo
ELIZABETH TAMAYO
Paralegal

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Sunny Chien
SUNNY CHIEN
Paralegal

Sunny joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2017, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s international clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from California State University of Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude. Sunny is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has extensive experience as a legal assistant and paralegal at Los Angeles-area law firms. She is excited to be part of the IFLG team. In her spare time, Sunny enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going to the beach, cooking, and being outdoors.

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MOLLY O'BRIEN
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Fertility law attorney Molly O’Brien began working in the field of assisted reproduction technology (ART) in 2005, at an egg donation agency and a surrogacy agency where she became familiar with all aspects of in-vitro fertilization, egg donation and the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, Molly has drafted and negotiated surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation embryo donation agreements for hundreds of her clients all over the world.