What is the Difference between an Attorney Run ART Program and a Non-Attorney Run Program?

baby2Assisted reproductive technology, or ART, is an ever-evolving field. From the medical techniques used to help create a new life to the legal issues surrounding those techniques and the parties actions, the entire field can change in a very short time. If you’re considering ART, you should know the differences in the types of programs that may be available to you. One of the primary differences in ART programs is that some are run by attorneys while others aren’t.

Benefits of an Attorney-Run ART Program

The field of assisted reproduction (sometimes called third-party reproduction when a surrogate or donor is involved) is a hotbed of ethical and legal questions. Some nations, and indeed, some states within the U.S., don’t yet have a comprehensive take on the laws and ethics regarding this type of reproduction. This can lead to questions regarding parentage, especially in third-party reproduction cases. With an attorney-run ART program, there’s a greater likelihood that any changes in the laws regarding the procedures will be adhered to in greater detail. In an attorney-run ART program, the attorney only represents the Intended Parents and the surrogate or donor is unrepresented other than during the contract negotiations.   An experienced ART attorney can help you sidestep some of the resultant issues when a child is born through assisted reproduction and address changes in the law as they arise during the journey. If an adoption is necessary to cement the legal standing between you and your child, a good ART attorney will be able to help you with those processes, as well.

Considering Non-Attorney-Run Programs

Going through the process of assisted reproduction can be daunting in and of itself. Some prospective parents find the thought of approaching an attorney about ART even more daunting. Non-attorney-run ART programs can help you feel more at ease by reducing some of your exposure to the legal side of things. Some non-attorney-run programs are affiliated with churches and other private groups so looking into the program thoroughly before engaging it is important. . There’s also the issue of whether all the paperwork will be comprehensive enough to protect the interests of your family which is why with a non-attorney program you should still engage an ART attorney to represent you in the legal process associated with ART.  Many of our clients hire us as independent counsel and work with a non-attorney run program so that they have an advocate separate from the program in case issues arise with the program.,. Overall, should you go through an ART program that’s not affiliated with an attorney, it’s a good idea to enlist the aid of an experienced reproductive law attorney throughout the process to ensure that your rights, and those of your family, are protected.

ART and Your Family

ART law is very specialized and prone to change on short notice. Having an experienced ART attorney to guide you through the process can ensure that your ART experience doesn’t go off the rails. Proper paperwork, accurate understandings between the parties, and a better outcome are some of the tangible benefits of seeking assistance from an ART attorney. Less tangible, but still exceptionally important, benefits include having the peace of mind that your process is following the right track; that legal snags common to ART and adoption can be handled effectively or sidestepped altogether.

Finding an Experienced ART Attorney

Assisted reproduction is a very different process than adoption. The legal issues can quickly become cloudy and hard to decipher. For this reason and many others, it’s essential to work with an attorney who’s experienced in ART law. At Jennifer Fairfax Family Formation Law Offices, we understand how much you want to add a new member to your family, and we’re ready to help you through the process. Contact us for more information on ART or adoption and get started adding to your family today!

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax