Parents adopt their own biological babies in surrogate controversy
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – No one disputes that Tammy and Jordan Myers are the biological parents of newborn babies Eames Alexander and his sister, Ellison Erin Jewel.
The couple are listed as parents at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where the babies have been treated since their premature birth on January 11. Doctors and nurses also know them as mom and dad.
The birth certificate, however, lists surrogate – or “gestational surrogate” – Lauren Vermilye and her husband, Jonathan, as parents. The Vermilyes were only trying to help another family and have no rights over the babies.
But the birth parents failed to convince the judges to name them parents.
“Now they have to adopt, legally adopt their babies,” lawyer Melissa Neckers told MLive / The Grand Rapids Press on Tuesday, Jan.19.
She disagrees with the judges’ rulings, but said Michigan’s parenting and surrogacy laws have not kept pace with modern science. She said similar arrangements were found to be legal outside Kent County.
Cancer survivor Tammy Myers recalled that she and her husband thought that once they had a chance to explain their situation – that a surrogate mother had given birth to their children – the judges would understand.
“We were shot,” she said.
Now she and her husband are adopting their own children, going through background checks and home schooling, and answering questions about their thoughts on child discipline.
They cannot add children to their health insurance policy yet.
They tried to get an order declaring that they were the parents before the births and then tried to have the husband declared a biological father.
In December, retired Kent County Circuit Judge Daniel Zemaitis said the contract was inapplicable.
“While this Court has genuine concerns about the current wisdom of the Surrogate Parenthood Act of 1988, it is best to leave these concerns to the legislative / policy realm. This Court will not ignore the clear wording of (the law) through legal action. “
Circuit judge Scott Noto has rejected a second request to name Jordan Myers as a father under the state’s paternity law. Myers would “allege that there is a child who the court has determined was born (or conceived) during the birth mother’s marriage, but that is not the issue of marriage.” No such decision has been taken before by the Court. “
He said: “What the parties are essentially asking the court to do is validate and enforce a contract that the Michigan legislature has expressly declared void and unenforceable as a matter of public policy.”
Tammy and Jordan, married for 11 years, have an 8-year-old daughter, Corryn. She is excited about her little brother and sister but couldn’t see them in person due to hospital visitor restrictions caused by the coronavirus.
The couple wanted to expand their family using their embryos, created earlier with the wife’s eggs and the husband’s sperm, which were transferred to the surrogate mother.
Almost six years ago, at age 33, Tammy Myers was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has undergone 18 cycles of chemotherapy, 28 cycles of radiation therapy and more than 25 surgeries, her lawyer wrote in court documents.
“Cancer took a lot of things from Tammy and Jordan, including Tammy’s ability to bear another child, but they didn’t let it beat them,” Neckers wrote.
“On the contrary, Tammy has used her adversity for good by becoming an official in her cause and in her community by partnering with the Van Andel Institute, Spectrum Health, the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen and many others. foundations to raise awareness and fund cancer. research.
“While fighting for her own life, she became a source of inspiration and hope for other women facing similar struggles by sharing her own story in the public eye on her blog and speaking out at the event. ‘countless seminars and events across the state. Now that Tammy is cancer free, Tammy and Jordan are trying to expand their family again… ”Neckers wrote.
Lauren Vermilye and her husband have two children who do not plan to have more. She read about the Myers on Facebook and offered to help.
She wrote on Facebook: “During the 210 days I had morning sickness, hormone injections, sciatica pain and general discomfort. Something I never experienced though, was the feeling of being more than a temporary host for these babies. My brain, heart and body knew the scientific and absolute truth that Eames and Ellison Myers belonged to their parents, Tammy and Jordan.
Babies should stay in the hospital for four to eight weeks.
The legal fight has been difficult and costly, but Tammy Myers said that “whatever happens we’ll make sure we can get them home.”