Michigan Restrictive Laws on Babies Born via Surrogacy Forces Parents to Adopt Own Children

Photo: (Photo : pvandermaesen0/Pixabay)

Parents Tammy Myers and Jordan Myers of Michigan have been in and out of court in the last year to officially adopt their biological twin babies, who were born via surrogacy. The parents had to go through the legal process because of Michigan's restrictive laws on babies born via surrogacy.

As the Myers are planning to celebrate their twin babies' first birthday, they are also going through a daunting legal system of inspections, evaluations and endorsements just like any adoption case. Despite their baby's surrogate legally agreeing with their arrangement from the start, Lauren Vermilye's name is still listed in the twins' Michigan birth certificate as the mother.

In an interview with People, Tammy said that their attorney advised them during the fertility process on the "worst-case scenario" in their plans to have babies born via surrogacy. But even the lawyer did not believe that they would have an adoption case.

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Why They Needed a Surrogate

Tammy and Jordan have an older child, Corryn, and they still plan on expanding their family. Admittedly, Tammy's pregnancy with Corryn was challenging, and her chances of having more kids with her husband diminished when she was diagnosed with breast cancer more than five years ago. Her oncologist told her that she could not have any more children the "traditional" way.

The Myers decided to freeze Tammy's eggs and avail of the services of a surrogate, using Jordan's sperm, should they plan to have more children. Though they did consider adoption, they felt that a baby born via surrogacy was more "cost-effective."

Then, Tammy and Jordan decided to move from Ohio to Michigan, where the laws on surrogacy are still from the 1980s. Though they have been the twins' parents since Vermilye's pregnancy, the state law does not recognize this.

In Michigan, parents of babies born via surrogacy need to complete a pre-birth order process. However, since the Myers' twins, Eames and Ellison, were born eight weeks earlier than the due date, Tammy and Jordan had to file for emergency legal rights to claim health insurance and other legal privileges for their babies, who had to be hospitalized for a few weeks.

The Michigan court denied the parents' emergency petition and said that Tammy would have to go through an adoption process since she did not carry Eames and Ellison to term. Tammy said she was aware there would be a lot of paperwork, but she never expected them to fight the court for their own kids.

Calls to Change the Law

By April 2021, Tammy and Jordan were finally recognized as the legal guardian of Eames and Ellison at a Kent County court. This puts them one step closer to the adoption process.

However, Tammy said that she never thought the courts would give them a hard time knowing that the babies are 100 percent their biological kids. She admitted that the adoption process made her cry for weeks.

She and her husband hope the law will change because it is long, expensive, and invasive. On the other hand, Jordan said that it felt degrading as the court did not even recognize that they are already parents to an eight-year-old girl.

People reported that there are currently 75 more couples in the state going through the same process of legally making their biological children part of their family.

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