Alternative Family Planning
There are many ways to grow your family and realize your dream of parenthood. “Alternative family planning” is an inclusive term for becoming a parent through some type of alternative method, whether it involves adoption or assisted reproduction. The best approach depends on your unique needs.
Adoption is the legal process by which a parent-child relationship is created between parties who are not biologically parent and child. Second Parent Adoption is common for same-sex couples and Step-Parent Adoption is common when one partner has children from a previous relationship. Under Maryland law, once a petition for adoption is granted in the Circuit Court, the adoptive parent has the same legal rights and responsibilities that a biological parent would.
Egg and Sperm Donation
Approximately one in eight couples experience some type of infertility.* Fertility treatments using third-parties, for example an egg or sperm donor, can help make patients’ dreams of having a family become a reality. Donor sperm is commonly used by same-sex female couples, heterosexual couples with male-factor infertility, and single women. Donor eggs are commonly used by same-sex male couples and women who, for a variety of reasons, cannot use their own eggs. Both donated eggs and sperm are screened for certain infectious diseases and genetic abnormalities prior to being used in treatment.
Donated embryos are a great way for couples struggling with infertility to become parents. For patients that have undergone fertility treatments and have unused embryos, many fertility centers now offer ways to donate them to other patients who are trying to grow their families.
A gestational surrogate (sometimes called a “gestational carrier”) is a woman who carries a pregnancy, but is not genetically related to the child, since the surrogate’s egg was not used. An embryo is implanted into the surrogate’s uterus via assisted reproductive technology. Same-sex male couples and any females who cannot carry a pregnancy are prime candidates for using a gestational surrogate.
Depending on the situation, physicians can fertilize an egg from the intended mother or a third-party donor, then transfer the embryo to the gestational surrogate. Traditional surrogacy, where the woman carrying the child is the biological mother of the child, carries more legal risks and is generally not recommended in Maryland.
Protecting Your Rights
If you are considering any of these methods, it is best to consult an experienced alternative family planning attorney who can help you prepare for this exciting journey and ensure your rights are protected.
An Experienced Lawyer You Can Trust
For years, Ms. Zlatkus has been at her clients’ side as they move toward parenthood. To learn more about how Z Family Law can advocate for you and your family, contact us today.