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Types of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) for Families

Types of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) for Families

Did you know that current statistics illustrate that about 10% of women aged 15-44 years old in the US have trouble getting or staying pregnant? And 40-50% of the time the infertility concern is related to the man?

 

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) may be a great option for those wanting to expand their families but needing some help to make it happen. There are many different ART techniques available to families, in vitro fertilization (IVF) probably being the most name-recognizable one.

 

Each assisted reproductive technology approach has its merits and detractors. And, as a matter of family law, ART is its own world of complexity. It's important to understand the finer points — biologically and legally — in order to make smart decisions and plan properly.

 

To aid in your success, in this post we're covering:

 
  • The basics of assisted reproduction 

  • Types of assisted reproductive technology

  • Pros and cons of ART

  • Assisted reproduction and the law


What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?

assisted reproduction technology

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a term used to describe a wide range of reproductive healthcare methods used to treat various infertility challenges. The ART toolkit includes both medications and procedures and can address issues with eggs, sperm, or embryos.

 

It’s worth noting that the CDC definition of ART, which is based on the 1992 Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act, may be a bit more narrow and rigid. Its definition doesn’t include sperm-only treatments or medication-induced ovarian stimulation without egg retrieval.

 

A lot of times, ART and IVF — the most common form of assisted reproduction — are used synonymously.

 

In one form or another, ART has been used in the US since 1981. Originally a means of helping women get pregnant, assisted reproduction has evolved a great deal in the intervening years.


Kinds of Reproductive Technology Procedures

 
  • In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a multi-part process that collects eggs and fertilizes them in a lab with collected sperm to create embryos, which are then placed in the uterus or frozen for later use.

  • Sperm, egg and embryo donation involves the gametes or zygote being retrieved from one person/couple and donated to another.

  • Surrogacy is when a woman is either artificially inseminated with sperm from the father or has an embryo from the biological parents implanted. She carries the baby for the parents, who raise the child from birth.

  • Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) inserts eggs and sperm into the fallopian tubes for fertilization.

  • Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) is a technique in which the egg is fertilized outside the body and then implanted in the fallopian tubes.


Why Consider ART as an Option

parents sitting on the couch watching their children play

Wanting to become a parent or to enlarge your family is a natural desire that many people have. When difficulties arise and don’t bring this loving vision to fruition — it can be devastating.

 

Fortunately, nowadays we have an abundance of options to make parenthood and bigger families a possibility. Although adoption is a terrific way to go, some would-be parents long to have a biological child for multiple reasons.

 

In these cases, assisted reproductive technology may be the answer. Here are some common reasons you might opt for ART:

 
  • You have difficulty conceiving naturally.

  • You don't have a partner with whom to conceive.

  • You have insurmountable difficulties with pregnancy. 

  • You have difficulties successfully carrying a baby to term. 

  • You or your partner have a genetic condition that prevents reproduction.

  • You or your partner have a genetic condition you don't want to pass on to your children.



ART Success Rates

According to the CDC’s 2019 Fertility Clinic Success Rates Report, approximately 23.6% of ART cycles resulted in the delivery of one or more living babies. (The success rate hovers at near 47% for women 35 and under who used their own eggs.) The report also states that about 2.1 % of all babies born in the US each year are the fruit of ART. For additional detailed stats, check out the SART reports.

 

Interested in data specific to Oregon and Washington success rates? Here are some numbers (2019) to ponder:

 
  • Washington has 12 ART clinics, while Oregon only has 5. (Click through each listed clinic to see their success rates for different kinds of ART methods.) Most states have3-6 clinics.

  • Between 2-2.9% of infants in WA and OR were the result of ART. The national rate was 2.1%.

  • Washington has higher rates of single-embryo transfers and lower multiple births, while Oregon is the other way around.

  • WA has a pre-term ART birth rate (4.1-5.5%) that’s on par with the national average (4.9%), whereas OR’s rate (6.8-11.3%) is a bit above.

 

Our exploration into this is revealing in other ways, too. It indicates that success rates can vary from clinic to clinic and depend on other factors — like your age, the type of ART you’re pursuing, etc. So, you really have to assess all your variables to get a more true-to-you idea of your odds. You can try using a success calculator to get an estimate.



Assisted Reproductive Technology & the Law

Building your brood through assisted reproduction is going to be more than a one-time legal transaction. What you need to know and do is based on the ART you opt for:

 
  • Insurance. Neither Oregon nor Washington require insurance companies to cover or offer coverage for the diagnosis or treatment of infertility.

  • Donation. In Oregon and Washington, eggs and embryos are considered property. As such, it’s key to have a clear, well-articulated contract in place. Otherwise, legal disagreements may be decided by a court based on transfer of property laws.

  • Surrogacy. All parties to a surrogacy should benefit from having a detailed contract that outlines each person’s rights and responsibilities. An experienced family law attorney is the best way to ensure an iron-clad agreement.

 

There’s a giant caveat here: Technology and laws are always changing. Usually, though, the laws don’t keep pace with the advances in medical science. This means there may be gaps — which can leave you and your family vulnerable.

 

For example, existing laws don’t cover frozen embryos. This can leave couples at the mercy of the courts to suss out what’s what in the event of divorce. Hence the need for an expertly crafted contract to protect your rights and explicitly define your responsibilities.



ARTful Lawyers

lawyer writing text on a piece of paper

To draft a water-tight contract requires an attorney who does more than just practice family law (preferably with an emphasis in adoptions and assisted reproductive technologies). Currently, there are several areas that comprise much of the work for an ART lawyer, including:

 
  1. Collaborative reproduction

  2. Agency regulation

  3. Cross-border travel for ART

  4. Parentage orders

  5. Insurance coverage issues

 

Additionally, your attorney also needs to have a working knowledge of reproductive medicine in order to better understand the application of the law.


Gevurtz Menashe, Assisting You with Your Assisted Reproduction Journey

The baby bump probably won’t be the only bump on the road to assisted reproduction parenthood. With the sheer amount and complexity of the laws related to ART, it’s vital to have a knowledgeable law firm supporting you along the way and smoothing out the path ahead.

Gevurtz Menashe is here to assist you. We’ve been practicing family law for over 30 years in Oregon and Washington. In that time, we’ve counseled countless clients on the legal aspects of creating and growing families. If you’re ready to get expert guidance — to help ensure success with one of the most pivotal transitions in your and your family’s lives — contact us today.