Adoption and Surrogacy

Articles | The Adoption and Surrogacy Law Center

November is National Adoption Month

As President, of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and owner of the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center, I wish you a very happy, meaningful and fruitful National Adoption Month. As the events unfold this month in our city and region, we all can be inspired by each other and by the one out of three families touched by adoption. History of National Adoption Month For over two decades, National Adoption Month Read More

How do I become an Adoption Attorney?

Given the twenty-seven plus years that I have practiced adoption law, I frequently get asked by other attorneys how they can become an adoption attorney. Of course it helps if once already is practicing family law because custody and adoption matters often overlap. However, I am not a traditional family law attorney since I practice adoption and surrogacy – and actually first learned adoption law and then custody law. Here Read More

Changing Your Name and Gender on Your Virginia Birth Certificate

Virginia Code § 32.1-269(E) says that:

Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the sex of an individual has been changed by medical procedure and upon request of such person, the State Registrar shall amend such person's certificate of birth to show the change of sex and, if a certified copy of a court order changing the person's name

Read More

Family Formation Options for Single Parents and Married Same-Sex Couples in Virginia

Assisted Reproductive Technology, Adoption and Other Legal Options AFTER Marriage Equality As of February 2016 Family formation for singles and same-sex couples in Virginia has become much easier for same-sex married couples since marriage equality occurred in October 2014. Moreover, whether married, unmarried or single, there are a variety of options available, especially with advances in medical technology. Hopefully, with continued changes in the law, challenges to the law, and creative approaches, Read More

The New World of Family Formation Options: Adoption versus Gestational Surrogacy

Newborn adoptive placements in the United States today have declined, assisted reproductive technologies have advanced, and the number and acceptance of gestational carriers has increased. This means that individuals and families seeking to have children now often look to assisted reproductive technologies (commonly referred to as “ART” – and not the kind you hang on the wall or put into a display case) instead of adoption. In this new world, how Read More

Quinn Teams Up With Surrogates to Help Area Couples Expand Their Families

Having children naturally is not an option for everyone. Today, surrogacy is becoming an increasingly popular option for those who need help extending their family. The scenario in this video, with Brooke Collawn (surrogate) and Tara Morris (mother-to-be) working together to make parenthood possible, is becoming much more common in the local area. With the increase in surrogate assistance, it's important for families to consult with doctors and attorneys to ensure the process is smooth and Read More

Quinn helps lesbian couple win right to have their names on their children’s birth certificates

From a recent Richmond Times-Dispatch piece on couple Maria and Joanni Hayman's successful fight to have their names on children's birth certificates:

fter an 18-month game of wait-and-see as the issue of gay marriage was being settled in Virginia, Richmond Judge Designate T.J. Markow last month ordered the Office of Vital Records in the Virginia Department of Health to amend the birth certificates to show Maria

Read More

Quinn on Frozen Embryo Donation

In "What Parents Should Know About Frozen Embryo Donation," a recent 8News Investigates piece, Colleen Quinn commented on this relatively new infertility solution.

"The embryo field still generally refers to the combination of two gametes that is the egg and sperm. Most of our state laws consider gametes to be property and property gets donated. It doesn't get adopted."

Quinn urges couples considering embryo donation to make sure

Read More

New Quinn Presentation Available: “Assisted Reproductive Technology Contracts: Drafting Fundamentals”

From the course description: "Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) contracts include extremely complex and sensitive issues that prompt a number of drafting concerns for attorneys. In her third installment on ART, Colleen Quinn returns to guide attorneys through the important considerations surrounding ART contract drafting.  Ms. Quinn will provide an extensive road map that incorporates specific structural techniques that will help demystify the ART contract.  In addition, she will provide practical examples Read More

Quinn Helps Craft Bill to Make Adoption Easier for Same-sex Couples in Virginia

Two bills hoping to make second parent adoption easier for couples in Virginia, including same-sex couples, are headed to the 2014 General Assembly. ... The language of the bill has been a large part of Equality Virginia’s legislative schedule for this session. While EV is holding comments on the bill till next week, one of the legal experts that helped draft the bill, Richmond lawyer and adoption expert Colleen Queen, responded to Read More

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November is National Adoption Month


As President, of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and owner of the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center, I wish you a very happy, meaningful and fruitful National Adoption Month. As the events unfold this month in our city and region, we all can be inspired by each other and by the one out of three families touched by adoption.

History of National Adoption Month

For over two decades, National Adoption Month has been celebrated across the country. Many national; state; local agencies; and foster, kinship care, and adoptive family groups will arrange programs, events, and activities during the month of November to raise awareness for the hundreds of thousands of children and youth in foster care who are waiting for permanent families.

  • 1976 Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced an Adoption Week in his state to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care.
  • 1984 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week.
  • 1995 President Bill Clinton expanded Adoption Awareness Week to the entire month of November.
  • 1998 President Bill Clinton directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a plan to expand the use of the Internet as a tool to find homes for children waiting to be adopted from foster care.
  • 2008 President George W. Bush provided an explanation of National Adoption Month in Spanish.

For small ways to celebrate, drop a kind note to prospective adoptive parents going through the adoption process, provide a thoughtful gift to a child in foster care, say “thank you” to a foster or adoptive parent, or give a book about adoption to someone special just to raise awareness – there are hundreds of adoption books for children and adults!

For bigger ideas about how to celebrate National Adoption Month, the Children’s Bureau of U.S. Health and Human Services has a terrific social media toolkit found here: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/ adoption/nam/about/

And the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute has a list of events and well-vetted ideas about impactful ways to celebrate the month or National Adoption Day (November 19, 2016) events in your community at http://www.ccainstitute.org/ programs/view/national-adoption-day-engage.

To learn more about adoption, visit the Adoption & Surrogacy Law Center at http://www.virginia-adoption-attorney.com .

This article provides general information only. Article provided by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. at https://plus.google.com/+LockeQuinnColleen MQuinnRichmond/about and http://www.quinn lawcenters.com/law-centers/adoption-and- surrogacy/team/attorneys .

How do I become an Adoption Attorney?


Given the twenty-seven plus years that I have practiced adoption law, I frequently get asked by other attorneys how they can become an adoption attorney. Of course it helps if once already is practicing family law because custody and adoption matters often overlap. However, I am not a traditional family law attorney since I practice adoption and surrogacy – and actually first learned adoption law and then custody law. Here are my standard suggestions:

1. Adoption Law Courses

Take as many adoption law courses as you can – especially ones that are state specific. I have given quite a number of such courses that are available for purchase as webinars with Lawline that can be taken right at your desk and last only 90 minutes.

2. Virginia CLE Book

Purchase the Virginia CLE book on Adoption Procedures and Forms.

3. Guardian Ad Litem Certification

Get certified as a guardian ad litem. Then advise every adoption attorney that you know (see the ones listed on the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (“AAAA”) website at http://www.adoptionattorneys.org) that you are available to be appointed for the child in adoption cases. While some courts will not let attorneys select their guardians ad litem, some do – and adoption attorneys like having guardians ad litem who are familiar with adoption law.

4. Adoption Attorney Shadowing

Ask to shadow adoption attorneys – look at the http://www.adoption attorneys.org website for the AAAA Fellows in your area

5. Birth Mother Representation Experience

Make sure adoption attorneys know you are available to represent birth moms. If you can first shadow an adoption attorney representing a birth mother that will help.

6. Local Adoption Agency Involvement

Attend local adoption agency programs and presentations. Get to know local agencies and social workers who might refer business to you.

7. Adoption Attorneys Conferences

Attend the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys conferences regarding adoption that are open to non-members. These are the Mid-Year Conferences and they are held in the Fall and posted on the AAAA website. There is one coming up on September 22-24, 2016 in New Orleans that is being held in conjunction with the National Council for Adoption.

8. Capital Law School Summer Program

Consider attending the Capital Law School week long summer program on adoption.
Join the ABA Family Law section – and more specifically the Adoption Sub-Committee.

 

Hope that helps you to get started!

Changing Your Name and Gender on Your Virginia Birth Certificate


Virginia Code § 32.1-269(E) says that:

Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the sex of an individual has been changed by medical procedure and upon request of such person, the State Registrar shall amend such person’s certificate of birth to show the change of sex and, if a certified copy of a court order changing the person’s name is submitted, to show a new name.       

What does this mean? First, if you are a transgender individual born in Virginia and you want to amend your birth certificate in order to correct your name and gender, you will need a court order to do so. While Virginia courts provide forms to allow individuals to petition for a name change, there is not yet a form to petition the court for an order recognizing a change of gender. Consequently, most people who want to amend their Virginia birth certificate to correct their name and gender will need to hire an experienced attorney to draft a petition for them and help them through the process.

In addition, as you can see from the statute section above, Virginia law also requires court orders to indicate that the sex of an individual has been changed “by medical procedure.” In other words, if you want to petition the court for an order to correct your gender on your birth certificate, you will need an affidavit from a medical professional.

Finally, any petition to change a person’s name on their birth certificate must also satisfy the requirements of Virginia Code § 8.01-217, which says in part that

Every application shall be under oath and shall include the place of residence of the applicant, the names of both parents, including the maiden name of his mother, the date and place of birth of the applicant, the applicant’s felony conviction record, if any, whether the applicant is a person for whom registration with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry is required…whether the applicant is presently incarcerated or a probationer with any court, and if the applicant has previously changed his name, his former name or names.

In most cases, as long as your petition is well-drafted and includes all of the necessary documentation, a court will not require a hearing before entering an order to correct your name and gender on your birth certificate. Our firm is experienced in assisting transgender individuals to amend their birth certificates to reflect their correct name and gender. Please contact our office with any further inquiries about our birth certificate amendment services.

Family Formation Options for Single Parents and Married Same-Sex Couples in Virginia


Assisted Reproductive Technology, Adoption and Other Legal Options AFTER Marriage Equality

As of February 2016

Family formation for singles and same-sex couples in Virginia has become much easier for same-sex married couples since marriage equality occurred in October 2014. Moreover, whether married, unmarried or single, there are a variety of options available, especially with advances in medical technology. Hopefully, with continued changes in the law, challenges to the law, and creative approaches, these options will continue to evolve and provide more legal security in family formation for single and same-sex families – including unmarried couples.

 

A. Assisted Reproductive Technology Options for Single Parents in Virginia.

(1) Single Intended Mother Uses Donor Sperm.

The simplest assisted reproductive technology method for a single parent in Virginia is when the intended mother obtains donor sperm (known or anonymous) and is artificially inseminated and carries her own child. Whether the sperm donor is known or anonymous, all that is required as far as parental rights are concerned is a very sound and comprehensive sperm donor agreement. Because many fertility clinics do not have adequate sperm donor agreements, nor any agreement at all between the donor and the recipient, it is very important for the single intended mom to protect herself by ensuring such an agreement is executed (that is, a sperm donor agreement directly between her and the donor – not just an agreement with the clinic). Important issues should be addressed such as the provision of future medical information, donor identity disclosure, donor registry, and future donor contact. Even if the donor is anonymous, it is relatively easy to have such an agreement put in place.

At birth, the intended mother is listed on the birth certificate and she lists the father as unknown.

(2) Single Parent Adoption.

Single Parent adoption is well established in Virginia law and is an option for a single male or female. Unless the adoption is of a close relative that has been in the adoptive parent’s home for at least three years, the adoptive parent will need to have a home study done. The adoptive parent can adopt within Virginia or can adopt a child from another state. Typically, the adoption is either an agency adoption or a parental (private) adoption. While single parents can adopt from foreign countries, there are a limited number of countries that will permit a single parent (as opposed to a married heterosexual couple) to adopt. Single parents also can adopt children out of foster care. All of the intricacies and legal processes of a single parent adoption are beyond the scope of this article.

(3)  Single Intended Mother Contributes Her Own Egg and Uses a Gestational Carrier.

Virginia’s surrogacy statute, Virginia Code section 20-156, et. seq., Status of Children of Assisted Conception, only applies to married intended parents using a gestational carrier. Arguably the statute is unconstitutional as discriminatory based on marital status. However, it has not yet been challenged. Moreover, because there is no statutory or case law prohibition on a single intended parent using a gestational carrier or surrogate, single parents can still utilize a gestational carrier in Virginia.

In such an event, the intended mother and the gestational carrier enter into a gestational carrier agreement. Notably, the enforceability of such an agreement in Virginia is not clear. Also a comprehensive sperm donor agreement should be executed as discussed above in Part A(1). DNA testing must be conducted after the birth to confirm that the intended mother is the genetic mother. Then, by utilizing Virginia’s Parentage Act, found at Virginia Code section 20-49, et. seq., an Order of Parentage can be obtained after the birth. Such an order finds that the intended mother is the legal and genetic mother and orders that her name be placed on the birth certificate.

Provided that an acceptable, comprehensive sperm donor agreement was executed (this is a very important and a necessary document to the parentage proceedings), the sperm donor will have no parental rights and, after the Order of Parentage is entered, the birth certificate will list only the single intended mother as the parent. Of course this is an evolving area of the law and further is dependent on the particular court. However, this author successfully has obtained several of such parentage orders to date and there is no reason for the court to refuse to enter the order provided all parties are in agreement.

(4) Single Intended Mother Does Not Use Her Own Eggs (is Not Genetically Related) and Uses a True Surrogate or a Gestational   Carrier Who Carries Donor Eggs.

If the intended mother’s egg is not used – but, instead the carrier contributes her own egg (defined as a “true surrogate”) with donor sperm or carries donor egg combined with donor sperm (or a donated embryo), and the child is born in Virginia, then a single parent adoption must be performed after the birth as set out in section (2) above. If donor egg and/or donor sperm is used, again, as previously stated, separate comprehensive donor agreements must be entered into between the donor and the recipient. These documents oftentimes must be incorporated into subsequent court proceedings.

Prior to the insemination or embryo transfer, the intended mother enters into a surrogate or gestational carrier agreement with the surrogate/carrier. Again, as previously noted, the enforceability of such an agreement in Virginia is unclear. Moreover, because the intended mother is not genetically related to the child, these situations are very risky as the intended mother may have limited recourse should the surrogate or carrier breach the contract and decide to keep the child. So long as the surrogate or carrier is committed to the process, a single parent adoption needs to take place after the birth.

(5) Single Intended Father Uses His Own Sperm With Donor Egg and a Gestational Carrier.

Situations involving a single intended father using a gestational carrier with donor egg and his own sperm where the child is born in Virginia are possible but also risky in terms of the enforceability of the outcome. Again, a gestational carrier agreement is executed. While Virginia’s statute on “Status of Children of Assisted Conception” only recognizes “intended parents” defined in the statue as a husband and wife in a carrier or surrogate arrangement, there is no express prohibition on single people using a carrier and arguably the statute is unconstitutional as discriminatory on the basis of marital status.

At birth, if the intended father’s sperm is used, and the gestational carrier is unmarried, then the gestational carrier easily can place the intended father’s name on the birth certificate. If the carrier is married, she may choose to list the father as unknown or may try to name the intended father who also must sign an acknowledgement of paternity at the hospital. However, hospital policies vary on their interpretation of whether a married mother can list someone other than her husband on the birth certificate application in which event the hospital will have to be convinced by pre-birth DNA testing or by a doctor’s affidavit or by an Acknowledgement of Paternity signed by both the carrier and the Intended Father.

If the intended father is not permitted by the hospital to be listed, then DNA testing can be done to establish that the intended father is the genetic father and the carrier’s husband is not the genetic father. Then Virginia’s parentage act can be utilized to obtain an Order of Parentage establishing that the intended father is the legal and genetic father. However, even though one of the foregoing routes can be used to get the genetic intended father on the birth certificate in Virginia, the problem is then getting the gestational carrier off the birth certificate and otherwise ensuring that any parental rights or responsibilities she has for the child are extinguished. If donor egg is used, in theory it should be legally possible to utilize DNA testing to establish that the carrier is not the genetic parent and use Virginia’s Parentage Act to get an Order of Non-Parentage entered. Technically, the failure of the court to do so violates the Equal Protection Clauses of both the Commonwealth of Virginia Constitution (Va. Const. art. I, § 1) and the U.S. Constitution (U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1) since a man can get relief via DNA testing in conjunction with Virginia’s Parentage Act to get off the birth certificate and relieve himself of parental responsibility. It therefore follows that a woman should be able to do so as well. The first court this author tried this process with in 2011 refused to enter the Order of Non-Parentage. In that case the clients did not want to pursue the matter further as they were a same-sex male couple who could do a second parent adoption in Washington D.C. to remove the carrier from the birth certificate and place the second father on it instead. At the time of this writing (February 2016), this author has been successful in one case in Henrico Circuit Court in having a court in Virginia enter an Order of Non-Parentage as well as the removal of the carrier’s name from the birth certificate.

In sum, a safe known route at this time in Virginia is for the single dad to do a single parent adoption (it may sound strange for a genetic father to have to adopt his own child and the judges in these cases seem to find it amusing). And hopefully the less intrusive (no home study required) Order of Non-parentage route will gain traction.

(6) Single Intended Father Uses a True Surrogate (Who Contributes Her Own Egg) with His Own Sperm or Donor Sperm.

It is possible in Virginia for a single intended father to use a true surrogate (meaning that she is artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm). Again, if donor sperm is used, then a comprehensive sperm donor agreement should be obtained. Prior to artificial insemination, the intended father and the surrogate would enter into a surrogacy agreement (again the enforceability of which is unclear). If the child is born in Virginia, the only established legal route after birth that vests parental rights solely in the father, extinguishes the parental rights of the surrogate, and places the intended father’s name on the birth certificate, is to do a single parent adoption. This is a very risky option because if the surrogate changes her mind and refuses to transfer custody of the child to the intended father, then even where the intended father was the genetic father, at best he would have a custody case and would end up with some sort of custody and/or visitation arrangement with the surrogate as well as in all likelihood a child support obligation. If he was not the genetic father (which would be the case if he used donor sperm), then in all likelihood (depending on the court), he would have no rights to the child whatsoever.

(7)  Intended Parent or Carrier Live in Another State or Child is Born in a State Other Than Virginia.

If either the single intended parent or the carrier resides in another state – then other options offered by the other state should be considered and, if possible, utilized to accomplish the objectives of the parties. Moreover, whether the child can be born in another state that has more advantageous laws also should be evaluated.

 

B. Assisted Reproductive Technology Options for Married Same-Sex Parents in Virginia

(1) Same-Sex Married Male Couple Using a Carrier in Virginia.

Since marriage equality, even if Virginia’s surrogacy statute is not expressly revised, it should be interpreted to apply to same-sex married male couples just as it would for a heterosexual married couple. Accordingly, for a same-sex married male couple, they now should be able to jointly contract with a surrogate or gestational carrier and use the birth certificate amendment administrative process post-birth as well. At birth, the hospital should honor the gestational carrier agreement as the hospital would for a married heterosexual arrangement.

An alternative route – which was the prior way in which parentage would be addressed before marriage equality – is for DNA testing to be done to establish that the intended father is the genetic father and the carrier’s husband (if married) is not the genetic father. Then Virginia’s parentage act is utilized to obtain an Order of Parentage establishing that the intended father is the legal and genetic father. Moreover, a step-parent adoption now can be done in conjunction with the Parentage Order for a same-sex married couple.

(2) Same-Sex Married Female Couple Where One of the Females Carries the Child and Uses Her Own Egg and Donor Sperm.

Where one half of the couple uses her own egg and donor sperm and delivers the child in Virginia, provided that a proper comprehensive sperm donor agreement has been executed, absent any other action, she will be the sole genetic and legal parent of the child. However, a hospital form issued by the Virginia Department of Vital records in January 2015 now permits the gestational mother and her wife in such a situation to both be listed on the birth certificate. Since being listed on the birth certificate alone is not a guarantee of legal parentage, and can be challenged since it is only administrative in nature and not a judicial order, the married couple also should do a step-parent adoption.

(3) Same Sex Female Couple where one Female “Contributes” Her Egg to the Other to Carry.

Where one half of the couple contributes her egg to the other partner to carry with donor sperm, again a clear sperm donor agreement and release should be obtained. The genetic mother needs to be very clear in any agreements with the fertility clinic that she does not intend to be a donor (which arguably would preclude her from having any parental rights) but that she intends via her contribution to be a parent. Most fertility clinic documents need to be revised for these situations.

In addition, as between the partners, the gestational and genetic moms should enter into a Parenting and Non-Donor Agreement so that the intent to jointly and equally parent is abundantly clear.

Upon birth, the moms have two options: to use the Parentage Act and DNA testing to establish that the genetic parent is a legal parent along with the gestational parent or to do a step-parent adoption. The downside to a step-parent adoption is that the Court has the discretion to enter an Order of Reference requiring the Department of Social Services to do an investigation and report. The cost of this can be assessed against the family. Given the intrusion and cost, as well as the fact that some parents prefer the concept of a legal parentage route over a step-parent adoption route, the parentage route may be a preferable option (despite the cost of DNA testing). Moreover, the parentage route arguably can be used if the lesbian couple is not married.

(4)  Same-Sex Married Female Couple Who Use a Surrogate or Gestational Carrier.

Because usually one of the two same-sex female partners is capable of carrying a child, it is a very rare situation whereby they would need to use a third party carrier. However, such situations sometimes do arise. In such event, if one of the partners is donating her egg, then the situation should be treated the same as where a married heterosexual couple uses a gestational carrier or where a married gay couple uses a gestational carrier as discussed above in Part A(1).

 

C. Adoption Options for Same-Sex Couples in Virginia

Since marriage equality, a married same-sex couple can do an adoption together now just as a married heterosexual couple would. In addition, the married same-sex couple can do a step-parent adoption.

Same-sex married couples also can adopt together in another state that recognizes same-sex placements and return to Virginia with the child. If they adopt in a state that only allows one of them to adopt, then they can do a step-parent adoption upon their return to Virginia with the child.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Colleen Marea Quinn

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, Colleen Marea Quinn at Locke & Quinn, P.O. Box 11708, Richmond, VA 23230 or email quinn@lockequinn.com.

The New World of Family Formation Options: Adoption versus Gestational Surrogacy


Newborn adoptive placements in the United States today have declined, assisted reproductive technologies have advanced, and the number and acceptance of gestational carriers has increased.

This means that individuals and families seeking to have children now often look to assisted reproductive technologies (commonly referred to as “ART” – and not the kind you hang on the wall or put into a display case) instead of adoption. In this new world, how does utilizing a gestational carrier generally compare to adoption as a means of family building?

  • Cost: While ART costs continue to become more affordable, using a gestational carrier typically is still more expensive than adoption. This is due to the higher medical and legal costs as well as greater living assistance given to the carrier. The exception is for a compassionate surrogacy (family member or best friend gestates the child) where typically minimal reimbursements are made to the carrier.
  • Availability: While the gestational carrier process may cost more, carriers are becoming more widely available while adoptive placements of newborns have declined.
  • Risk: A gestational carrier becomes pregnant with the intent to gestate and place the child with the intended parents. An expectant woman with an adoption plan typically did not plan to become pregnant and, only after learning of the pregnancy, begins to consider making an adoptive placement. Thus the main risk in a gestational carrier arrangement is whether the carrier will in fact become pregnant. Alternatively, the main risk in an adoption is whether the expectant mother (and father) will stay committed to her (their) adoption plan.
  • Control Over Genetics: Unless the situation involves a true surrogate (who uses her own egg), in a gestational carrier arrangement, the carrier will not be a genetic parent to the child. Instead, the carrier typically will carry the genetic parts of the intended parents or the genetic part of one intended parent combined with either donor egg or sperm. In an adoption, the placing parents are the genetic parents.

There are many more comparisons and considerations to make in the new world of family formation. This article provides general information only. For more details please be sure to contact an attorney. Article provided by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. For more about Ms. Quinn, please visit http://www.quinnlawcenters.com and her Google+ page or call (804) 285-6253.

Quinn Teams Up With Surrogates to Help Area Couples Expand Their Families


Having children naturally is not an option for everyone. Today, surrogacy is becoming an increasingly popular option for those who need help extending their family. The scenario in this video, with Brooke Collawn (surrogate) and Tara Morris (mother-to-be) working together to make parenthood possible, is becoming much more common in the local area.

With the increase in surrogate assistance, it’s important for families to consult with doctors and attorneys to ensure the process is smooth and agreements are secure. Richmond surrogacy attorney, Colleen Quinn, has helped thousands of families over the past decade and she continues to see a rise in surrogacy cases.

Quinn notes that the process can involve many steps, typically including:

  • A background check
  • OB/GYN clearance
  • Psychological screenings
  • and more

There are occasionally issues that come up during the process, such as surrogates getting attached to the child while carrying. But, with the right measures being taken in the beginning stages of the process, the chances of running into problems like that are significantly lowered. Everything about the surrogacy process should be discussed during this time, from whether or not drinking wine occasionally is acceptable to issues such as pro-life versus pro-choice.

To find out more about the surrogacy process, contact Quinn Law Centers today at 804-285-6253.

Quinn helps lesbian couple win right to have their names on their children’s birth certificates


From a recent Richmond Times-Dispatch piece on couple Maria and Joanni Hayman’s successful fight to have their names on children’s birth certificates:

[A]fter an 18-month game of wait-and-see as the issue of gay marriage was being settled in Virginia, Richmond Judge Designate T.J. Markow last month ordered the Office of Vital Records in the Virginia Department of Health to amend the birth certificates to show Maria and Joani as the “only parents of the children.”

The Haymans initially contemplated pursuing a custody order, or what their attorney, Colleen Quinn, says was called “LGBT two-parent protocol” in Virginia by lawyers familiar with same-sex couple cases.

Because of the unique nature of the twins’ birth, Quinn saw an opportunity to make a legal case for Joani’s inclusion on the birth certificates and offered to take on their case pro bono.

“I couldn’t bill them for something I wasn’t sure would be successful or not,” said Quinn, who has advocated for “family security and preservation” for same-sex couples.

Read the full piece here »

Quinn on Frozen Embryo Donation


In "What Parents Should Know About Frozen Embryo Donation," a recent 8News Investigates piece, Colleen Quinn commented on this relatively new infertility solution.

"The embryo field still generally refers to the combination of two gametes that is the egg and sperm. Most of our state laws consider gametes to be property and property gets donated. It doesn’t get adopted."

Quinn urges couples considering embryo donation to make sure there’s a legal contract.

"The parties need to have a very clear cut release on any parental rights,” states Quinn.

Watch or read the full piece at WRIC.com »

New Quinn Presentation Available: “Assisted Reproductive Technology Contracts: Drafting Fundamentals”


From the course description: “Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) contracts include extremely complex and sensitive issues that prompt a number of drafting concerns for attorneys. In her third installment on ART, Colleen Quinn returns to guide attorneys through the important considerations surrounding ART contract drafting.  Ms. Quinn will provide an extensive road map that incorporates specific structural techniques that will help demystify the ART contract.  In addition, she will provide practical examples and sample contract provisions to assist practitioners in drafting provisions covering everything from pre-screening representations, physical exams & psychological evaluations to labor notification, breaches and remedies.  Do not miss this thorough examination of ART contract drafting that both new and seasoned practitioners in the field will appreciate.”

Quinn Helps Craft Bill to Make Adoption Easier for Same-sex Couples in Virginia


Two bills hoping to make second parent adoption easier for couples in Virginia, including same-sex couples, are headed to the 2014 General Assembly.

The language of the bill has been a large part of Equality Virginia’s legislative schedule for this session. While EV is holding comments on the bill till next week, one of the legal experts that helped draft the bill, Richmond lawyer and adoption expert Colleen Queen, responded to questions about the bill via email.

“Given the recent US Supreme Court decisions, the incoming Democratic Virginia governance, the polls that show a shift in people’s opinions and the recent changes in other states,” said Quinn. “I think the timing is good to get this started even if it does not pass this year – it gets the attempt rolling.”

Read more »

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