Articles Posted in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Who pays for the children’s health insurance and co-pays?”

If you asked someone 20 years ago if there would ever be a possibility of a woman conceiving a baby with her spouse who is deceased, you would have likely gotten a blank stare of disbelief. 20 years ago this was not possible, but through increases in technology and conception methods, the possibility of conceiving a child after the death of a spouse is possible through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). In the estate planning world, this type of situation, a child born after the death of one of the parents, would be called an “after born child.” There are may legal considerations that must be noted when there is the potential for an after born child.

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Who pays for the children’s health insurance and co-pays?”

It is clear that the rules surrounding the use of frozen embryos created as part of the in vitro fertilization, or IVF process are confusing. Couples often wonder whether agreements made prior to undergoing IVF will be deemed enforceable or whether they will instead be forced to fight it out in court with their ex-spouse over ownership of the frozen embryos. A recent series of legal events in Arizona further throws the issue into doubt, raising real questions for those considering IVF in the state.

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What children’s expenses are covered by child support?”

The desire to have a child of your own is a powerful one for many people. Though most are able to do so easily, there are many couples who cannot. Either due to age or infertility, it is not always an option to simply go out and have your own biological child. It is for this reason that some couples begin considering alternatives, including hiring a surrogate. Those who go down this road are required to put great faith in not only the woman chosen to act as a surrogate, but also in the legal system to ensure their rights are protected.

Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”

A Georgia man who hired a surrogate to carry his child for $33,000 may be getting more than he bargained for.

Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

A sad and legally complex divorce case out of California is set to be resolved in the coming months. Though divorce cases are hardly novel, this one may end up blazing an important trail as experts believe the judge could lay down rules for how cases involving frozen embryos will be decided. The issue has appeared across the country, but the results have been largely unpredictable. The hope among many is that this case may provide a path forward, clearly outlining how these thorny issues are to be dealt with.

Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What rules are there for Father’s Right in NC?”

A Hollywood starlet’s ex-flame has sued to prevent the destruction of embryos the couple created through in-vitro fertilization.

Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Who pays for the children’s health insurance and co-pays?”


An Australian woman has found love with a man who anonymously donated sperm that the woman used to conceive her young daughter.

Happy Family Charlotte Divorce Attorney Mecklenburg Family LawyerThe woman lost two infant boys to the same rare genetic disorder but found that her third attempt at parenthood was charmed. The woman—42-year-old Aminah Hart—told the Daily Mail that she felt time running out on her chances at motherhood.

Those chances were further diminished by the one-in-four chance that her third child would be afflicted with x-linked myotubular myopathy, a condition that affects muscles used for movement and which almost always afflicts boys.

Hart’s first son, Marlon, died aged four months in 2010 of the disorder. A second son, Louis, survived to just 14 months. Doctors were not able to diagnose the rare genetic condition until after Louis’ death. Hart’s marriage to Marlon’s father ended after the infant’s death, as did her relationship with Louis’ father.

So the third time around, Ms. Hart decided to use an anonymous sperm donor to conceive. She said she was given three cards listing vital statistics of donors. These profiles included the donors’ age, body build, hair color, interests and professional occupations. They did not include a photo.

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Child Custody Lawyers and Attorneys in Charlotte Mecklenburg County NC N.C. North Carolina.jpgThough a quick scroll through the TV guide tells us how much American family life has changed over the decades, less “Brady Bunch” and more “Modern Family,” our family law system has failed to keep pace. The idea of what a family is supposed to look like has changed enormously as gay parenting and single mothers have become vastly more commonplace, yet the courts haven’t been as quick to adapt.

A clear instance of this gap is occurring today in New York State. A New York Times article recently discussed the complicated case of a pharmaceuticals executive named Jonathan Sporn. Dr. Sporn filed a motion in a New York court late last month saying that he and his then girlfriend, law firm partner Leann Leutner, had a baby boy last year. The couple had fertility issues and relied on an anonymous sperm donor. The two had been together for several years, living together in a committed, monogamous relationship. Two failed marriages had convinced them both not to get married again and they were instead going to raise their child as a non-married couple.

The problem with their plan arose in December when Leutner took the young boy and left Sporn for a new apartment in New Jersey. After a few days out of the city she killed herself. Though the turn of events was a surprise, it was not completely unexpected. Leutner had a history of psychological problems and was suffering from an especially serious case of postpartum depression.

Since Leutner’s death, the child has been in protective care and is now in a foster home in New York City, this despite repeated attempts by Sporn to get custody of his son. Leutner’s sister has also tried to get custody of the boy. So far a judge has agreed that either home would be acceptable for the child, yet despite this seal of approval Sporn still does not have his child who has been given the label “destitute” since, legally, he has no known parents.

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Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Lawyers and Attorneys in Charlotte Mecklenburg County NC N.C. North Carolina.jpgCNN recently discussed a tragic case involving a fight between biological parents who discovered the child their surrogate was carrying would have a serious health defect and the woman carrying the child. The couple wanted the woman to have an abortion, something the surrogate fought, saying she felt protective over the baby. So protective in fact that she fled to another state that does not recognize surrogacy laws and found an adoptive mother to raise the handicapped child. The parents, who, it turns out, used an egg donor and thus are not both biologically related to the child, filed suit to claim legal rights to the child.

This convoluted tale is not a law school hypothetical, but the real case involving a woman named Crystal Kelley from Connecticut. The case began when a Connecticut couple who already had three children of their own decided they wanted a fourth but discovered the wife would not be able to carry the child. They then selected Kelley as their surrogate and, after using an egg donor, implanted the embryo. Not long after that they learned that the fetus their surrogate was carrying had developmental disabilities. Doctors said the child had a cleft lip and palate, a brain cyst and heart defects. The baby would need to have multiple heart surgeries after birth and was given only a 25% chance of leading a normal life.

The couple, worried about the child’s ultimate quality of life after having several premature children of their own, offered to pay the woman $10,000 to abort the baby. The woman, who initially claimed the procedure went against her religious beliefs, later admitted to demanding $15,000, but since says that was only in a moment of weakness. The couple refused the additional amount and launched a protracted campaign to enforce the surrogacy contract.

The original agreement the surrogate signed said specifically that she would agree to an abortion if the fetus had a severe abnormality. The woman said that she did not want to follow the agreement when confronted with the reality of what she would have to do. She then chose to leave Connecticut for Michigan where state laws disregard surrogacy contacts and where she would be deemed the child’s legal guardian.

Since then Kelley has given birth to a child with even worse medical problems then were expected. The child’s internal organs are in the wrong places, some don’t function properly, her ear is misshapen, she has an abnormally small head and has a brain that failed to completely divide into two hemispheres.

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