If you’re facing fertility challenges and turning to assisted reproductive technologies, you may need some expert legal advice. To make sure you get the best, you’ll need to do some interrogating.
Because reproductive law is still in its infancy (no pun intended!) there are still very few attorneys who specialize in this area. That’s one reason it’s especially important for any prospective parents to research the qualifications of the lawyer they’re hoping will assist them on the path to parenthood. For instance, a family law practice is substantially different from a law firm specializing in reproductive law. Firms advertising themselves as specializing in family law may be willing to take your case, but may not have the expertise to handle it as well as an attorney specializing in reproductive law. Websites and Internet message boards can offer a wealth of information when you start your research. Once you narrow down your search, you should get answers to the following questions before retaining the services of an attorney or firm.
1. How much experience do you have in this specific area?
Obviously your attorney’s professional experience is crucial. You’ll want to make sure he or she has the expertise and qualifications of a reproductive attorney rather than a more general family law practitioner. The subtleties and ever-changing legislation in reproductive law mean you really need someone who specializes in this field and keeps up with all the latest developments.
But once you ascertain professional expertise, personal factors become important, too. The issues that come up in reproductive law can be quite delicate and intimate, and you need to feel comfortable with the attorney who is representing you.
Both factors need to be in place—professional qualifications and a good personality match—before you can be sure you’ve found at attorney who will give you the information and advice you need while protecting your interests and understanding your particular situation in this unsettled area of the law.
2. Does your law firm offer any services other than “legal”?
The list of things to do when you’ve started on the road to family-building through assisted reproductive technology can seem infinite. You’ll ask yourself: How will I find and manage the money needed to pay all these people? What about my insurance? Who will coordinate all the “little things”? How can I find a gestational carrier and/or egg or sperm donor if I need one?
It goes on and on. You may wish to consider a “one-stop shopping” approach by choosing a law firm that offers all of these services, and more. By hiring this type of firm you can cut your “to do” list to a manageable size. And while the law firm offering all these services may charge more money than other firms, the cost can still be substantially less than if you were to pay for each of these jobs individually.