Navigating the Post-Obergefell Baby Boom: A Map for LGBT Family Building in the Era of Marriage Equality

(159 Ratings)

Produced on: June 23, 2017

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 61 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

The national conversation about marriage equality shined a spotlight on LGBT couples and their children, reinforcing the trend toward parenting by gay dads and lesbian moms. Advances in reproductive technology have helped bring down the costs associated with biological parenthood for male and female couples. Meanwhile a revolution in practices in the last 10 years have made adoption available to LGBT couples and single people.

However, family law in many states struggles to keep up with these advances in family formation. Far too often families that do not consist of two, different-sex, married parents face additional burdens when building their families and securing the rights of both parents. The practice of surrogacy is banned in four states, and is practiced effectively in a legal vacuum in many others. Less than half the states have statutes addressing sperm donation. Only a handful of jurisdictions have any laws on the books regarding egg or embryo donation. The specter of religious exemption laws or litigating parentage in hostile jurisdictions creates additional hurdles for LGBT families.

This course, presented by Brian Esser, a solo practitioner who helps LGBT people build families through adoption and assisted reproduction, discusses the most common modes of LGBT family building, addresses the inequalities that linger after Obergefell, and offers practical guidance for counseling families as they embark on the path to parenthood.  

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Identify the primary modes LGBT couples and single people use to build families
  2. Understand the importance of establishing legal parentage for both intended parents when couples are pursuing biological parenthood
  3. Survey the legal landscape of adoption and foster care for same-sex couples
  4. Appreciate the unique challenges transgender individuals face when building families


Brian Esser

Law Office of Brian Esser

Brian Esser is a solo practitioner whose practice focuses on building families through adoption, surrogacy, and assisted reproductive technology, and protecting families through proper estate planning. He regularly works with clients pursuing private placement adoption, as well as families securing the parental rights of a non-biological parent through a second-parent adoption. He counsels families on sperm, egg, and embryo donor agreements, and all aspects of surrogacy. He has a particular interest in helping LGBT people build their families.  

Brian started his career at Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC before moving to Baker & Hostetler’s New York office. He sits on the board of directors of the National LGBT Bar Foundation, and is a member of the ABA’s Family Law Section Committees on Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Technology. He has been recognized by his peers as a Super Lawyer and one of the Top LGBT Lawyers under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association. He and his husband Kevin live in Park Slope, Brooklyn and have two sons through open adoption. 


Francesca F.

Wonderful presenter! I learned a great deal.

Jessica C.

Very interesting and thoughtful presentation

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$ 59 Family & Matrimonial Law and Public Interest Law In Stock


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