A gestational carrier (GC) is a woman who volunteers to carry a pregnancy for someone who cannot otherwise carry a pregnancy for herself (someone who has had her uterus removed due to health problems, or someone who has a non functional uterus).
A gestational carrier (GC) is not a traditional “surrogate”, as a surrogate is someone who donates her egg and then subsequently carries the child. In the case of a gestational carrier, the woman carrying the pregnancy is in no way biologically or genetically related to the child she is carrying- she is merely providing a nurturing environment in the form of a uterus for the child to grow for the gestational period of 40 weeks. The eggs and sperm are derived from the “intended parents” (or egg donor, or sperm donor), through the process of In Vitro Fertilization, fertilized in the lab, and then the embryo (or embryos) are placed into the uterus of the gestational carrier.
Using a gestational carrier is a much more involved process than even egg or sperm donation. In addition to the medical process each woman must adhere to a proper surrogacy arrangement. It is a complex legal contract involving responsibilities, and expenses. This should be handled by a lawyer who specializes in third-party reproductive law. Many times, undocumented surrogacy “favors” are carried out by friends or family members to great satisfaction and success. But more often now, they are handled by agencies which specialize in surrogate arrangements. An agency will also provide proper psychological and medical screening that is critical to a successful surrogacy.
Yifat Shaltiel, Esq.
Yifat is owner of Surrogate Steps (www.surrogatesteps.com), a Surrogate Mother Program, and the founding attorney of Shaltiel Law Group. Yifat has been an attorney for over ten years and specializes in reproductive law, adoption law, and estate law. In addition to coordinating the surrogacy process and working closely with gestational surrogates and intended parents, Yifat drafts and negotiates reproductive law contracts including surrogacy and gestational carrier agreements, co-parenting agreements, and egg donor, sperm donor, and embryo donor contracts. Yifat also analyzes health insurance plans in surrogacy arrangements, obtains birth orders, amends birth certificates, and finalizes adoptions.
In addition to publishing numerous articles on reproductive law, Yifat has been featured as a reproductive law expert at various venues, including media news outlets such as MSNBC and Fox News. Yifat has also given lectures on reproductive law including at Cornell University and the Women’s Bar Association (FLWBA).
Yifat is admitted to practice law in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and is affiliated with the following organizations:
- American Bar Association-Family Law Section (ABA)
- Assisted Reproductive & Genetic Technology Committee (ABA)
- Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY)
- Reproductive Health Law Committee (WBASNY)
- Finger Lakes Women’s Bar Association (FLWBA)
- New York State Bar Association (NYSBA)
- RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
- Tompkins County Bar Association (TCBA)
- Estate Planning Council of Tompkins County
Yifat received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota where she was awarded a scholarship and a J.D. from New York Law School where she received high honors for her legal writing skills and legal publication.
Melissa Brisman, Esq
Melissa drafts and negotiates contracts for many types of reproductive arrangements including gestational carrier contracts, ovum, sperm and embryo donation contracts and adoptions; works with international couples; finalizes same-sex and step-parent adoptions; obtains court orders for gestational carrier arrangements to allow the intended parents to go directly on the birth certificate of their child at birth; processes name changes; and reviews insurance books on behalf of intended parents and their gestational carriers.
In addition, Ms. Brisman is the sole owner of Reproductive Possibilities, LLC, an agency that facilitates gestational carrier arrangements, and Surrogate Fund Management, LLC, a company that manages escrow in connection with reproductive arrangements.
Melissa B. Brisman graduated Valedictorian from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. She is an attorney admitted to practice in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and is a licensed certified public accountant.
Melissa first started helping couples become parents in 1996. Actually, she was her own first client, guiding and directing the process in which she and her husband, Dan, became parents of twin boys carried by a gestational carrier. A few years later, they had a daughter carried by another gestational carrier.
As a mother, Melissa is uniquely qualified. She understands the emotion and concern involved in creating a family and, as a lawyer, has successfully won many cases in this field. She has helped protect the rights of hundreds of parents who have had miracle babies using all available reproductive technologies.
Melissa is the first attorney to obtain court orders directing that the genetic parents be placed on the original birth certificates of their children born to gestational carriers in the State of Maine, in 1997, and the State of New Jersey, in 2000. She also argued and won landmark gestational carrier cases before the Supreme Court of Massachusetts in 2001 and the State Supreme Court of New York in 2004, setting legal precedents for birth orders in these states.
In 2003, Melissa was the first attorney to obtain a court order placing two women on the birth certificate of their child, without an adoption, in the State of New Jersey; and, in 2005, to place two men on the birth certificate of their children, born through a gestational carrier, without an adoption, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2008, she was also able to have two women who were validly married in Canada placed on the birth certificate of their child in the State of New York.