Same sex couples, IVF and parental rights

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A custody battle involving a lesbian couple and their child, born as a result of IVF has been settled. But its complicated and as the political climate changes here on the Suncoast, we are likely to see more of these cases pop up.

Because of the legal complexity and lack of clarity when it comes to establishing same sex couples parental rights of children born as a result of IVF, Sarasota Attorney Barbara Ingram says couples should seek an attorney and have an agreement or contract before going forward.

"They need to get an idea of what their rights and responsibilities are before they sign any consent forms for the In Vitro Fertilization."

Ingram said the statutes aren't clear on how to handle same sex couples with children.  "We've seen a bit of an increase with same sex couples seeking to establish parental rights here on the Suncoast." She said, "There have been a couple of cases in this circuit."

Sarasota fertility expert Julio Pabon, M.D. said he's always seen a variety of people including the LGBT community at his practice. 

"Regular families, single ladies, single men, men that are couples, ladies who are couples."  Pabon said he helps them to the best of his ability.

The two step IVF journey starts with turning off the ovary, then stimulation of the ovary with injectable drugs, said Pabon, "After ten days, ten to twelve days the eggs are evaluated for maturity while their still in the patient through hormone testing and ultra sound."

The patient is under IV sedation while the eggs are harvested using an ultrasound procedure, the harvested eggs are grown "Usually in this practice we test them genetically, this is to see if they are genetically normal." He said, "If we have results of genetic testing of an embryo, we only transfer one, rarely two." He concluded.

While it seems the process and results for IVF are less complicated constantly evolving, so to is the law where it pertains to parental rights, and, that includes same sex couples

But, it is complicated.  Ingram said the 73-page opinion written by the supreme court, provides some direction in how same sex couples may establish parental rights pertaining to children born of invitro fertilization.

We will keep you posted as more of these cases come up.