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Walking Strong: Your Help Is Desperately Needed

As our readers know, we have always tried to use this blog to help educate and shine a light on the issues of the day. This post is personal for me however. It involves the tragic condition of a very special little boy that I have had the good fortune of knowing. Following below is the message from my law partner and best friend who has been working tirelessly to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) on behalf of an incredibly brave 8 year old little boy, Alexander Llauro. If you have just a few minutes, please watch this video and consider helping us find a cure for this horrific disease that afflicts young boys.

Thank you.

I would like to introduce you to my friend Jorge and his son. Jorge’s son, Alexander, is 8 years old and has a very rare medical condition that only afflicts boys, called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). It is very different and much more debilitating than the Muscular Dystrophies you have heard of before. I have attached a .pdf for the “Walking Strong” Foundation, and a video that explains all of the medical aspects of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the research that needs to be funded to stop the progression of the disease. I hate asking people for anything, but this is not for me, it is for Jorge and Alexander. Alexander only has about 2 years left before he loses the ability to walk and is bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, however long that is. If we can raise 1.88 million dollars for this promising new drug therapy being developed in Ohio, and get FDA approval for human trials quickly, Alex can get into the trial before he loses the ability to walk. There is no cure, and they cannot reverse the damage done. So once he loses the ability to walk, that’s it. That’s why time is so critical. It will take about a year to get FDA approval for the trial, once the money is raised. If it takes too long to raise the money, thus extending the FDA approval, it will be too late for Alex. By the way, this is not just about Alex. There are tens of thousands of boys afflicted with DMD in the world who can be saved and helped. It’s just that Alex is my (our) mission. Just imagine if it was one of ours, the extent to which we would go to do everything humanly possible.

First, the Walking Strong Foundation is having a fundraising event this May 23, 2015. At the bottom of the email I have attached a copy of the flyer and I would love for you to attend. There is no fee. Second, I have 10 days to raise as much money as possible. What I would love more than anything in this world is to take that stage at the event and present checks made payable to the “Walking Strong” Foundation in amounts so astounding that we all breakdown crying, and we all have hope that we saved him. Whatever you can do to help me with that I would appreciate so so much. Third, the foundation desperately needs to raise awareness. DMD is what they call an “orphan disease.” That means it does not afflict enough people to be known, or to prompt the drug companies to develop cures. Everyone knows about Lou Gehrigs Disease and breast cancer, but no one has heard of DMD. Please think of anything you can do to raise awareness and let people know how many little boys are crippled and killed by DMD. Please help us to get the attention of the FDA to fast track human trials for new drugs so we can stop the progression of the disease before the boys can no longer walk. Maybe you know a celebrity, or someone with a high profile that can raise awareness? Do you know anyone who would be willing to be the face of the campaign? Maybe do a 30 second PSA? I really need your help.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email, watching the attached video, and for whatever contribution you can make. Please make any check payable to the “Walking Strong” Foundation and send it to my attention at this office (23035 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364) or call me at 818.999.1950 if you have any questions.

Dean Masserman

Walking Strong: Foundation Overview

Are Artificial Wombs the Surrogates of the Future?

meanwhilegraphic3aThose of us who are passionate about alternative reproduction and fascinated by the rapid evolution of technology have to check out “Meanwhile in the Future,” a new podcast from Rose Eveleth, one of New York’s most thought-provoking journalists. Eveleth has a future obsession: While other reporters spend their time on what is, her eyes are always focused on what could be. Her columns for the BBC have explored direct brain-to-brain emails (that is, technologically aided telepathy), long-distance surgery, and the possibility of developing human communities underwater.

Her new podcast, produced by Gizmodo, takes an in-depth look at the technology of the future, the era of “Minority Report,” and explores how it will (or could) alter our lives. In her premiere episode, “A Womb Away from Home,” she examines artificial wombs — developing life, from start to finish, outside the uterus. Such technology could become possible. In fact, it’s even likely, say her two guests: acclaimed sci-fi author Lois McMaster Bujold and Maureen Sander-Staudt, a professor of feminist ethics.


Bujold paints an intriguing vision of how a uterus-free future might affect women. For one, she notes, having artificial wombs “instantly drops the maternal mortality and morbidity to zero.” No woman would ever have to die in childbirth again, assuming that artificial wombs become available to all strata of society, even the poor. More likely, suggests Sander-Staudt, artificial wombs could soon become cherished status symbols, like a pop star’s Gucci handbag.

But as the professor points out, such technology would arrive linked to tricky legal conundrums, like how artificial wombs would affect abortion rights, which would suddenly be disconnected from the right to bodily integrity and presumably privacy, the Constitutional right upon which Roe v. Wade was based. You’ll recall that Roe specifically permitted states to ban abortions as soon as the fetus is “able to live outside the mother’s womb,” which, with artificial wombs, could mean from Day One.

That’s all speculation, of course, as the technology for ectogenesis is nowhere near ready. Until then, surrogacy will continue to be fully interwoven with humanity — with meaningful connections between the intended parents, surrogate and baby.

Surrogacy Brings a Family Together

A beautiful story in Yahoo! Health about a sister, a step-brother, and the ultimate gift.

Arin, a 31-year-old from Brooklyn, approached her gay step-brother Phillip and his longtime partner Shane and offered to be their surrogate. “I wanted to be pregnant and wanted to go through the experience but not have the responsibility [of raising the child],” Arin said. Phillip and Shane leapt at the opportunity. The result was Dahlia, a healthy, blue-eyed baby girl, born on June 20, 2013.

It was, as Arin put it, “a fairytale pregnancy.”


Phillip and Shane’s arrangement with Arin is quite unique. Few surrogates use their own eggs or deliver on behalf of a sibling. But anyone who has worked in surrogacy law will recognize a very familiar element in their story: their smiles. It’s right there in their photo — that joy that comes with new parenthood, that magical moment when a couple becomes a family.

The Risks of Working with a Ukrainian Surrogate

Call it the Wild Wild East.

An English couple made international news this week when a judge in Britain’s High Court granted them custody of twin girls born to a surrogate mother in Ukraine. For the couple, it was a tremendous sigh of relief after an awful stretch of legal and emotional chaos.

The couple had hired a surrogacy clinic in Kiev. Using the husband’s sperm and a surrogate’s eggs, they successfully returned to Britain with their two girls.

003DE313000004B0-0-image-a-49_1430785023363 - Copy

Success, that is, followed by confusion, concern and legal complications. The family returned home with their twins but without proper documentation to prove that the surrogate willingly participated in the gestation and birth. Naturally, the couple reached out to the surrogate, only to learn that she had disappeared, her whereabouts now completely unknown. The Ukrainian surrogacy clinic refused to assist, declining to provide additional information or legal documentation. Without the proper legal documents, or confirmation of the surrogate’s consent, or assistance from the Ukrainian clinic, the couple essentially became stranded — and faced the very real possibility that the British court would take their children.

This week Justice Lucy Theis deflated those fears, granting the couple full parental rights, while noting the lingering concern “as to whether the surrogate mother was a willing participant in this arrangement.” The case could easily have gone the other way. Britain’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, passed in 2008, states that a couple working with a surrogate mother cannot become the legal parents of the surrogate’s children unless it is “clear” that the surrogate mother “genuinely decided” to relinquish custody of the babies.

Was this surrogate’s intention “clear”? Was her decision to relinquish her newborn daughters “genuine”?

London’s Daily Mail, which provided excellent coverage of this case, honed in on the couple’s age (they are in their 60s). But for those of us working in surrogacy law here in America, these other issues of clear intent and legal consent are far more important. For families who are lured east by Ukraine, Russia and India’s less expensive surrogacy arrangements, these are the risks: uncertain intent, murky consent, stunningly flawed legal contracts, and clinics and surrogates with a Houdini-like ability to disappear when their assistance is most urgently needed.

Nepal Quake Gives Birth to Hopes for Israeli Surrogacy Reform

The Nepal earthquake has provided a possible opening for Knesset, rabbinical court to reexamine their laws which force homosexual couples to use international surrogates for carrying their babies.


Legal and religious experts working with Israeli couples having children by surrogacy in foreign countries hope that Saturday’s devastating earthquake in Nepal will move Israel to reexamine its surrogacy laws.

Israeli rescue teams were in the process of retrieving 26 babies born to surrogates in Nepal from the ravaged country. The babies and their prospective Israeli parents had been waiting in Kathmandu for DNA test results that would have confirmed their parenthood and granted the adults permission to bring the babies home with them.

In addition, the Justice Ministry has cleared the way for surrogate mothers in Nepal carrying babies for Israeli couples — these are Indian nationals — to be brought from Nepal to Israel as soon as possible. Most of the surrogates are in advanced stages of pregnancy.

The 7.8-magnitude quake that has left 4,438 confirmed dead — as of Tuesday afternoon — and 8,000 injured also severely damaged Nepal’s medical infrastructure, putting the pregnant surrogates and the babies they are carrying at serious risk.

A Magen David Adom paramedic holding a newborn baby born to a surrogate mother in Nepal, on Tuesday, April 28 2015. (Photo credit: Courtesy Magen David Adom)

“I am certainly hoping that the Nepal earthquake will encourage Israel to take another look at its approach to surrogacy, to look at it with an eye to the moral and social issues of today,” said Rabbi Seth Farber, founder of ITIM, an organization that helps people navigate the byzantine depths of the religious authorities’ bureaucracy in Israel.

Israel’s first surrogacy law came on the books in 1996, and it has not been amended since then. Only heterosexual couples are legally able to use surrogacy in Israel, and there are many restrictions on who can serve as a surrogate. While straight couples must go through an onerous committee process in order to qualify for surrogacy, homosexual couples are left completely out of the system. Consequently, they must look to foreign surrogacy as a means of producing a child biologically related to one member of the couple.

According to Victoria Gelfand, a Tel Aviv attorney who specializes in foreign surrogacy, there are few countries in which gay couples can pursue the surrogacy option. Currently, only the United States, Nepal and Mexico are options. India used to be a possibility, but it recently decided to stop issuing visas to homosexual couples. As a result, many of them have turned to neighboring Nepal.

‘I am certainly hoping that the Nepal earthquake will encourage Israel to take another look at its approach to surrogacy, to look at it with an eye to the moral and social issues of today’
(It should be noted that the South Asian surrogates, who are paid the life-changing sum of $5,000-$10,000 for their services, are gestational surrogates only. Israeli gay couples usually use donor eggs from European or South African women.)

The costs involved drive the couples — both gay and straight— to choose South Asian countries. Surrogacy costs around $40,000 in those countries, as opposed to $150,000 in the US, where only 10 percent of foreign surrogate births for Israeli couples took place in 2013. Heterosexual couples also have the choice of Georgia or Ukraine, where the bill runs somewhere in the middle, around $65,000.

Farber would like the government to revisit the recommendations of the Mor-Yosef Committee, tasked in 2010 with examining public policy options relating to fertility and childbirth. In December 2013, Health Minister Yael German announced that she would put forth legislation based on the committee’s recommendations to open up the opportunity to use surrogate mothers for singles and homosexual couples.

But last year, a bill based on the recommendations failed to make it past a first reading in the Knesset. The bill also aimed to provide stronger regulation and more supervision of the foreign surrogacy process so as to avoid the type of problems Israelis have run into in the past when trying to leave various countries with children born by surrogates.

A welcome reception held for gay fathers returning from Thailand, where local surrogate women gave birth to their babies.  February 20, 2014. (photo credit: Gideon Markowicz/FLASH90)

Farber, who said he is empathetic to those in the homosexual community who want to bring children into the world, acknowledges that this still may be problematic for some people.

“However, even those who have an issue with gay surrogacy need to realize that two-thirds of surrogacy births are for heterosexual families,” he said.

Gelfand backed up that assertion with statistics from 2013. In that year, Israelis had 227 births (either a singleton or multiples) by surrogacy. Of those, 58 took place in Israel, and by law were to heterosexual couples. There were 169 surrogate births abroad, and of those, 82 were for heterosexual couples.

As an attorney, Gelfand approaches the surrogacy issue from a legal angle. As a rabbi, Farber is more concerned about the application of halacha, Jewish law, in surrogacy cases. Both, however, would like to see a more open approach to the subject.

“People in Israel are still not open-minded about surrogacy,” said Gelfand. She hopes that an eventual loosening of the restrictions on who can serve as a surrogate will bring more women to consider serving as one.

Farber would like to see the rabbinical courts take a more sensitive approach regarding the Jewish status of children born by surrogacy. Currently, all children born by surrogacy — even those who were conceived using an egg from a Jewish woman — must undergo conversion.

Farber thinks that in the cases where the egg was from a Jewish woman, the conversion should just be procedural. Where it concerns other children born by surrogacy (such as virtually all foreign surrogacies using donor eggs), he believes there is justification for individualizing the conversion standards.

“We call on the rabbinical court to come up with a solution that is more user-friendly,” he said. “We should congratulate these families, not make things more difficult for them.”

Gelfand is somewhat skeptical that the Nepal earthquake will quickly revive the proposed bill from 2014, which she believes is unfortunate given that she predicts that embryo transfers for surrogate births in Nepal will stop for the next months, as prospective Israeli parents wait to see how the situation there develops.

By contrast, Farber thinks the quake could serve as a wake-up call — if only the coalition negotiations would be over.

“If there were a government, they’d be hearing about this already,” he said.

Hawaii Fertility Law Leaves Out Singles, Same-Sex Couples

In Hawaii there is a bill pending to change the laws to remove the requirements for spousal sperm.

HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaii is one of a handful of states that requires insurance companies to cover fertility treatment through in vitro fertilization.

But same-sex couples and single women are left out because the coverage rules only apply to married, heterosexual couples. That’s because the Hawaii law states that a patient’s eggs must be fertilized by her spouse.

Advocates are calling the practice discriminatory. They’re hoping to change the law.

A bill is pending in the Hawaii Legislature that would remove the spousal sperm requirement.

The infertility association Resolve says Maryland and Arkansas have similar coverage mandates for heterosexual couples. An effort to update Maryland’s law passed the Legislature but hasn’t yet been signed into law by the governor.

Barbara Collura of Resolve says Hawaii’s law desperately needs to be updated.

Inside the Dark Realities of the International Surrogacy Industry

In the latest Vice for HBO documentary, correspondent Gianna Toboni traveled to India to report on the booming gestational-surrogacy industry. Commissioning couples from the U.S. and Europe use Indian surrogacy agencies because they’re as much as six times cheaper than Western alternatives. Surrogacy companies claim to offer opportunities for women to escape poverty, promoting international surrogacy as a win-win for everyone involved.

But, Toboni and her team quickly expose the dark underside of an unregulated and dangerous industry. Women are routinely recruited from slums, made to sign contracts they can’t read, before spending a year living in a facility. Once the baby is born — via cesarean section so that doctors can maximize births per day — the surrogate is sent home, often without the full compensation she was promised. We spoke to Toboni about the lives of surrogate women, how the industry can improve, and the emerging black market for “extra” babies.

Do you think the American and European commissioning couples that use these Indian surrogacy agencies really don’t know what’s going on?
There are cases where American couples feel a little strange about what is happening, and the ethics of it, but turn a blind eye because they don’t want to pay the higher rates in the States. Many couples don’t want to know what’s behind the scenes, they want their baby fast, and they want it done cheaply. At the same time, there are couples who have an ongoing relationship with the surrogate and are very involved in making sure she’s making a choice and not simply being exploited.

At one point you go undercover to explore the extremely cheap and rather questionable surrogacy organizations. I couldn’t tell if you were able to find these agencies because of your team’s investigative skills or if they’re regularly being used by American couples.
That’s something I was wondering initially myself. So when we got to these seedy agencies with poor practices, I’d say something like, “I’m a little bit nervous, do Americans use your organization?” And they said yes. There was one guy, who ended up in the episode, and not only did he say yes, but he pulled up their profiles on Facebook and showed us the babies that had been gestated by his surrogates. It wasn’t like they were just boasting about their business; they had social-media proof. If you’re an American, you want to pay a cheap price, unfortunately, and you can find these places. We just showed up at the door and knocked.

There’s such dramatic income disparities and power dynamics at play with international surrogacy. To me, it seems inherently problematic, but do you think there’s a way it could be done right?
I do think there’s a way to do it right. The Indian government just hasn’t passed regulations that would allow this to be a safe industry. More regulations and increased effort by couples would help. It’s the responsibility of the couple to really research and see what kind of pressure their surrogate is under. I asked one woman when she was on the delivery table about to give birth if she was ever afraid she could die during childbirth. She said, “Yeah, I know that’s a real possibility.” The surrogates understand what the situation is medically for them, but it doesn’t seem like the commissioning couples do. The medical facility is good and clean, but at the same time, these women are risking their lives.

Right now, the surrogacy industry is anything goes, which is really scary. There was legislation proposed in India in 2010, it just hasn’t been passed. We didn’t see anyone receive poor medical service at the clinics we were able to visit. At the same time, there’s no limit to how many embryos can be implanted. Doctors have been known to insert more than one or two embryos to increase the chances that the woman will get pregnant without losing time or money. The commissioning couple may only want one baby, so sometimes, when more than one baby is born, the couple isn’t told, even though it’s their genetic offspring. As you can see in the documentary, I was offered one of these babies from the black market.

Were you surprised by the black-market industry surrounding these “extra” babies?
I wasn’t surprised that it existed, but I was surprised by how easily we were able to find it. We did a lot of research and spoke to a number of experts before we went, and we’d heard rumors that there are extra babies and orphanages of white babies in India. We didn’t find any orphanages, but then, when a couple offered me a baby for sale over dinner, it was shocking.

Do you find it difficult to maintain the journalistic remove required to do a job like this?
That situation in particular, when I was undercover and offered that baby, was the most heartbreaking experience I’ve ever been a part of. It was terrifying how aggressively they were pushing this baby on us. They even offered to let us make a down payment so we could take it home in a few days. I’m sitting there thinking, I’m sure I could find someone to raise this baby. But it’s also highly illegal and you just can’t. Vice doesn’t require the colder, more removed affect we’ve come to expect from investigative work. You can sit there and say, “This is really fucked-up and I want to take this baby so it’s safe.” To not be able to authentically react to what I’m seeing would do a disservice to the content. I’m a journalist, but I’m a human being first.

One thing that often happens with these internationally reported stories is that journalists go in, do the investigative work, interview people on the ground, and then produce something that those people never see. Do you make an effort to show participants, like the surrogate women, the role they have in exposing this story?
For sure, when people give us their time and tell their story, which is often taking them away from their family or their work, it’s important we show them the final product.


Scientists Create 1st Genetically Modified Human Embryo

I Spent Fifteen Thousand Pounds For A Baby Girl

It sounds like something straight from a sci-fi film, but scientists have actually created the first genetically modified human embryo.


For the first time in history, a team of researchers have successfully edited the genes of a human embryo. The researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou reportedly used the CRISPR/Cas9 technique to knock a gene called HBB, which causes the fatal blood disorder ß-thalassaemia, out of donor embryos. This marks the first time that the CRISPR technique has been employed on an embryonic human genome. The CRISPR/Cas9 method utilizes a complex enzyme (aka a set of “genetic scissors”) to snip out and replace faulty gene segments with functional bits of DNA. The technique is well-studied in adult cells, but very little published research has been done using embryonics. And it’s the latter application that has bioethicists up in arms.

On one hand, advocates for genetic modification argue that it could lead to medical techniques that eliminate devastating genetic disorders like Parkinson’s, Down syndrome or Sickle-Cell Anemia before a person is even born. On the other hand, critics warn that tinkering with the blueprints of life to prenatally destroy disease could lead to unintended genetic consequences that are even worse than whatever disease we’re trying to cure.

Then there’s also a whole other argument as to whether this technique crosses ethical boundaries. “We are humans, not transgenic rats,” Edward Lanphier, president of Sangamo and chairman of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, recently wrote in a Nature op-ed. “We believe there is a fundamental ethical issue in crossing the boundary to modifying the human germ line.”

Still, the potential for future misuse has rarely slowed the development of a new technology — just look at the automobile, assault rifle or atom bomb. According to the Sun Yat-sen research team, they eventually called off the study, not because they created genetic monstrosities, but because the technique failed so often. Out of the 86 total embryos utilized in the study, 71 survived the initial CRISPR snips, only 28 successfully spliced in the new DNA and a small fraction of those splices actually generated a functional protein. “If you want to do it in normal embryos, you need to be close to 100 percent,” lead researcher Junjiu Huang told Nature. “That’s why we stopped. We still think it’s too immature.” The researchers published their findings in a recent issue of the journal Protein & Cell.

A Rising Trend: Pregnant Women Over 50

Anna raunigk- older mom

Couples are having children later in life, thanks to in vitro fertilization or IVF.


Recently it hit the news that 65-year-old Annegret Raunigk, a mother of 13 children, is now pregnant with quadruplets. This summer, Raunigk could possibly be the oldest woman to give birth to quadruplets, a title that is quite close to the oldest woman to give birth, Rajo Devi, an Indian woman who gave birth at the age of 70. In comparison, the oldest man to father a child was 96-year-old Ramajit Raghav of India. Although it may seem like Raunigk’s and Devi’s pregnancies are uncommon, you might be surprised to discover that there is a rising trend of women over the age of 50 getting pregnant and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

In 2013, there were 677 births to women over the age of 50 in America—that’s 13 births a week. There were 600 births in 2012. This phenomena is not just occurring in the U.S. but in other countries like Great Britain where the birth rate for women 50 and over doubled from 2008 to 2012. For a better understanding of this trend, let’s break it down below.


Probably the first question that comes to mind when thinking about women over the age of 50 bearing children is how they get pregnant. It’s common knowledge that many women go through menopause during their 50’s, a process that hinders a woman’s ability to get pregnant. That’s where in vitro fertilization, or IVF, comes in. The first woman to give birth through in vitro fertilization was in 1978 in England and the process has only continued to improve.

In vitro fertilization does come with risks for women over 50 such as multiple pregnancies, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, premature birth, having a child with chromosome abnormalities, and miscarriages. A majority of women over 50 who use IVF are implanted with donor eggs which lowers the risk for side effects like chromosome abnormalities while others use eggs that they froze when they were younger. Many of these risks have caused fertility clinics to deny women over 50 from using their services although some studies have found that many women over the age of 50 have the same health risks as those that are younger and should be fine as long as they are properly cared for.


What kind of woman gets pregnant over the age of 50? First and foremost, they are all very healthy individuals. Some are first time mothers, same-sex couples, women who decided to focus on their careers, or women in second marriages. One thing is for certain, at least for women who use IVF, they are in financially sound places in their lives since a single IVF attempt with egg donation can cost anywhere between $25,000-$30,000 and most insurances do not cover this cost.


The trend of women deciding to get pregnant in their fifties or older has brought up many ethical and moral questions. Many of the following concerns arise when considering the topic of men and women over the age of 50 becoming parents:

  • Will they be able to handle the stamina needed to raise a child?
  • Will the child be embarrassed of or be able to relate to parents over the age of fifty?
  • Do the parents run the risk of passing away early or burdening a young child with medical conditions associated with age?
  • Why don’t these parents choose adoption?

Even though these questions arise, it hasn’t seemed to stop women who are fifty or close to fifty from getting pregnant. Take singer Sophie B. Hawkins, fifty years old and pregnant. Celebrities like Halle Berry, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Preston (John Travolta’s wife), and Susan Sarandon were pregnant in their mid-forties (ages 45-47) which isn’t too far off from 50.

Although many won’t agree based off moral or ethical concerns, the argument in favor of women giving birth over fifty is that, “People should be able to make their own decisions and deserve the right to have biological children and pursue their own happiness.” Others comment that more women and men over the age of fifty are raising their grandchildren and doing so successfully.

The role of women in society was once limited, first, as wives and child bearers. Within the last century, women were given the opportunity to pursue careers and decide if they wanted to become wives or bear children and if so, at later ages if they wished. It seems that the ability to get pregnant over the age of fifty is just another option for women, an option that gives women more control over their reproductive health and because of this trend families are growing more diverse. Modern families no longer look the way that they once did and there is something inherently beautiful in that fact.

Sherri Shepherd Ruled Legal Mother of Baby Born via Surrogate

Sherri Shepherd Ruled Legal Mother of Baby Born via Surrogate

There has finally been a ruling in the ongoing legal battle between Sherrie Shepherd and her ex-husband.
After months of battling her ex-husband in court over financial responsibility for their baby born via surrogate last August, Sherri Shepherd is now officially listed as the mother of the 8-month-old.

“It’s bittersweet,” Lamar Sally told PEOPLE outside the courtroom on Tuesday.

“I’m glad it’s over, but I feel sad what it had to come to. Now I can go back to L.A. and tend to my son.”

Since the birth of Lamar Sally Jr., the formerly married pair had been locked in a legal battle after Sally said the couple had agreed to pursue surrogacy before Shepherd had a drastic change of heart months into the surrogate’s pregnancy.

“There was some additional evidence put on the record involving some video clips involving Ms. Shepherd,” Craig Bluestein, a legal representative for the baby, told PEOPLE of the judge’s decision to hold Shepherd responsible.

Bluestein cited a clip of Shepherd “expressing excitement over her and Lamar going to have a baby through the help of a surrogate carrier with no genetic connection.”

While Shepherd did not appear in court and her lawyers declined to comment, Sally’s legal team left satisfied.

“I feel very good,” said Bluestein. “I think little LJ, who is not yet 1 year old, needed some protection. Justice was served today.”


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Welcome to The Spin Doctor

Blogging about the legal, social and political issues of the day with an emphasis on reproductive rights and bioethics.

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