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What Do Surrogacy, Fertility, Same Sex Couples, Celebrities and Military Wives All Have in Common? Blog Feature
Lisa Rosenthal

By: Lisa Rosenthal on October 18th, 2010

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What Do Surrogacy, Fertility, Same Sex Couples, Celebrities and Military Wives All Have in Common?

Monday Text
Lots and lots in the fertility news categories these days. Surrogacy especially.

A personal favorite is Neil Patrick Harris and his longtime partner, David Burkta, and their new twins. Interesting though, that I have yet to see one in-depth, thoughtful article about them. Most of what I have read are either very abbreviated articles, news press release type comments, congratulation pieces or even tweets.

I’d like to think that’s because surrogacy and same sex couples are not really incredibly hot news. That in fact, this is a lovely announcement to make, but not really news. Wouldn’t that be grand? If a celebrity gay couple having twins by surrogacy wasn’t really news? Just another sort of ho hum way to create a family?

We’re probably not quite there yet. Not quite ho hum. But it is also lovely not to read a lot of really ugly stuff out there. At least not yet, at least not easily found.

So why not go with congratulations to the new parents, we wish them well.  

Also in the news, perhaps not the flip side, but just a small turn are the stories about military wives and surrogacy. Amy Demma, a reproductive lawyer, licensed in New York State and Massachusetts brought this story to my attention, via, yes, facebook.

Interesting that part of the focus on the story regarding military wives and surrogacy had to do with cost of pregnancy and who should be covering that. If it’s a surrogate relationship, should the surrogate’s insurance company be paying for it when the surrogate herself is going to profit from the arrangement and not keep the baby?  Should it somehow be arranged that the intended parent’s medical insurance company provide pregnancy services? Does that make sense? Frequently the intended parents pick up the cost of the medical aspects of the pregnancy. Perhaps that makes the best sense.

One reason that this conversation is so heated is because of the question of who pays to support the pregnancy.  When it’s a military wife who is the surrogate, than that begs the question of whether we, taxpayers, are in fact supporting these pregnancies because of the health coverage the surrogates have through the government.

Here is some of the conversation that is happening around this topic:

On MilitarySOS.com, an online support network for military spouses and family members, a blogger wrote: "Taxpayers are footing the bill for medical care for military beneficiaries. They should not be expected to pay to care for someone who isn't a military beneficiary."

Melissa Brisman, a reproductive lawyer based in New Jersey, helps explain why surrogacy can be appealing to the military personnel:

"They move around a lot, so they really can't get their teeth into a career, and if they want to contribute to society and do something useful, it's a good use of their time," said Brisman, whose agency employs about 20 military surrogate mothers out of more than 200. "A lot of them are just strong family people...and what a better thing to do for somebody than have a baby for somebody who can't."

Expect to hear more about this, in the mainstream news. In November, Glamour Magazine will be doing the following:

Partnering with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, Nosheen and Schellmann's findings appear in the November issue of Glamour magazine.

"We found out that there is basically no regulation," said Schellmann. "We were like, "This is the Wild West. There are no [federal] laws regulating this industry at all, and almost anything is possible."

So yes, surrogacy is in the news. We’ll be hearing more about it, I’m sure. Lots of opinions on all different sides about how, who, what, where and when. Reproductive law is a field that has blossomed to manage everyone’s best legal interests and to avoid complications that can be heart rending.

When all is said and done, we are bringing babies, children, human beings into the world. Changing the faces of families. Creating families where they would not be possible otherwise.

Wherever else the conversation leads us, I’d like to say a heartfelt welcome to those children who are so genuinely and passionately wanted by their parents.



About Lisa Rosenthal

Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.

Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.

Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.

Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.