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  • Writer's pictureJosh Ormond

Expanded IVF Coverage And Implications for NJ Family Law

Updated: Mar 12

While a recent ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court has triggered multiple fertility clinics in the state to suspend operations and pause IVF cycles, New Jersey recently passed a law expanding insurance coverage for families utilizing assisted reproductive technology (ART) and IVF treatment.

The new law applies to certain private sector insurers which provide pregnancy-related benefits to groups of 50 or more people. Different types of in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, genetic testing, and embryo transfers are all considered covered services under the new law. 

Recent court rulings and implications for IVF and family law

While the law is a substantial step towards improving access to reproductive healthcare, conception through assisted reproductive technology remains a thorny area of family law, requiring the knowledge of a seasoned attorney. 

When couples use IVF or other forms of assisted reproduction, there can be legal issues surrounding child custody, co-parent adoptions or second-parent adoptions, child support, and parental rights and obligations. 

Navigating these issues successfully makes a huge difference for parents going through the IVF process and looking to start a family. The professionalism and experience of a family law attorney can help individuals make informed decisions as they look to expand their family and protect their custody rights. 

For example, earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Superior Court heard a case involving a same-sex couple who started the process of in vitro fertilization during their marriage. In their contract with the fertility clinic, they listed one party (Glover) as the intended parent and her spouse (Junior) as the “co-intended parent”. 

When Glover became pregnant, the couple jointly picked out a name for the child and jointly hired a birth doula. They also planned a baby shower together. 

Perhaps most significantly, the parties jointly retained lawyers, anticipating that they would have Junior formally adopt the child after his birth. Both parties also signed affidavits confirming their intent to have Junior co-parent with Glover and share equal rights to their son.

However, while Glover was pregnant, the parties ultimately separated. Glover then filed for divorce and claimed that her former spouse had no legal rights to the conceived child. Initially, despite strong evidence of the couple’s intent to share parental rights and responsibilities, the Court sided with Glover, ruling that Junior did not have any parental rights as the “non-biological parent”. 

However, on appeal, the Court reversed, asserting that Junior could be legally recognized as the child’s parent with the same rights and obligations as Glover. 

The case carries important implications for couples considering conception through assisted reproductive technology and is a notable example of the types of legal disputes that can arise in this context.

If you or your loved ones are considering assisted reproductive technology or IVF, know how to protect your rights and get valuable legal advice throughout the process. Schedule a free consultation with Ormond Law today.

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