Since 1987, more than one million babies have been born in the U.S. using assisted reproductive technologies - mainly, in vitro fertilization (IVF). Most of these patients chose to cryopreserve excess embryos to attempt a pregnancy at a later time. In 2017, this practice noted storage facilities holding more than 600,000 frozen embryos and, reportedly, 70% of these patients waiting up to five years before finally deciding what to do with their embryos. As family building with IVF and cryopreservation becomes more prevalent for all types of modern families, surrounding legal and ethical issues have gained increasing visibility. While patients typically pre-determine embryo disposition in informed consent documents, one of the most common disputes involves “who gets the embryos” to use or dispose of, when the embryo creators (the patients) separate or divorce. With a time-delay from pre-determination to disputes, and very little statutory regulation or binding case law, most courts confronting the issue have had to develop frameworks for resolution that draw on contract law, public policy norms, and constitutional law, along with other factors and considerations.
This course aims to clarify the current legal and ethical guidelines that help shape embryo disposition decisions, as well as cultivate critical thinking skills to assist attorneys in guiding clients through potential disputes in an area of evolving law.
As the founder and principal of The Surrogacy Law Center, PLC, Stephanie has represented thousands of clients from all over the world, including intended parents, surrogates and egg, sperm and embryo donors. Stephanie’s expertise in family formation and reproductive law has made her a sought-after expert who has appeared on various television and radio programs as well as in print media including The Today Show, ABC News, HuffPost Live, The Daily Beast, The Bakersfield Californian, Washington Examiner, the Creating a Family radio program, NPR, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, The Union Tribune and the L.A. Daily Journal (and again on March 23rd, 2015). In 2017 Stephanie established The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center, PLC, a full-service estate planning law firm, further highlighting her commitment to serving families and ensuring their peace of mind.
Stephanie is a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, serving on its Ethics Code Review Committee, and is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, serving on the Executive Board of its Legal Professional Group. She is also a member of the American Bar Association and the San Diego Bar Association and serves on the boards of Fertile Action and Parents Via Egg Donation.
Lisa A. Rinehart has been involved in reproductive medicine in the Chicago area for the past twenty-five years. First as a nurse (where she brought years of experience in ICU nursing and hospital administration), and, currently, as a health care attorney and medical practice consultant, focusing on risk management, compliance and employee law, practice operations, new practice start-ups, mergers and physician contracting. Lisa received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois; and, completed a law degree from DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois, with honors, and a certificate in Health Law. She worked for several years as a corporate health care attorney, before returning to the medical field as a fertility practice manager and consultant, as well as teaching as an adjunct instructor of Health Law and Healthcare Administration at several Chicago-area universities.
Lisa is an honorary American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology (AAARTA) member, the Executive Director of the Kevin J. Lederer LIFE Foundation (a non-profit organization that provides treatment grants for fertility treatment) and has been a very active member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine for over 20 years, serving as chair of the reproductive managers professional group, the legal professional group, and the membership committee. She currently participates in the SART consent committee, helping to review and revise ASRM template consent forms, and is a frequent speaker on all aspects of reproductive law, risk management, practice operations, and employment law.
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