The Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago (LAGBAC) hosted a seminar on surrogacy options for same-sex couples Oct. 9.
The free lunch session, titled "Conceivable Options: Navigating Alternative Family Building," focused on legal, ethical and fiscal considerations for prospective parents.
"Today, more than ever, we as patients are consumers," said Mindy Berkson, an infertility consult with Lotus Blossom Consulting. "We need to be savvy, ask the right questions, and pursue options. We need to challenge scientists and build choices into our treatment plans so we can be the best advocates for ourselves."
Speakers highlighted tricky terrain such as choosing a surrogate, naming same-sex partners on birth certificates, and shipping breast milk.
Julie Tavoso, an attorney who specializes in surrogacy law, explained that state-by-state reproductive laws vary wildly. Michigan and New York, for example, criminalize surrogacy, while other states offer LGBT-friendly options.
Tavoso urged all parents in same-sex partnerships to legally adopt their children. This should help parents avoid legal issues when traveling to states that don't recognize civil unions or other LGBT rights.
Both Berkson and Tavoso tell clients to budget anywhere from $100,000 to $125,000 for the surrogacy process, which includes doctor, lawyer and hospital fees.
LAGBAC co-hosted the event with the law offices of Goldberg, Weisman & Cairo. To learn more about LAGBAC, visit www.lagbac.org .