Assisted Reproductive Technology – Family Building

Jeff Sheehan admitted into the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Law Attorneys (AAARTA)

The American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Law Attorneys (AAARTA) accepted Jeffrey T. Sheehan as a Fellow in their organization effective 2013. AAARTA is a credentialed, professional organization dedicated to the advancement of best legal practices in the area of assisted reproduction and to the protection of the interests of all parties, including the children, involved in assisted reproductive technology matters. Jeff Sheehan is Idaho’s only AAARTA Fellow.

Idaho Takes an Important Step Forward in Recognizing Parental Rights of Intended Parents using ART

For several years now, Idaho has been known as “surrogacy friendly” because there are no laws on the books restricting the use of third parties (gestational carriers and traditional surrogates) for reproductive purposes. Thus, a contract could be drafted setting forth the rights and responsibilities of the parties (intended parents and the gestational carrier or surrogate). However a significant impediment existed, because through our courts are willing to correctly identify intended parents as parents of a child born through ART in a court judgment, the Idaho Department of Vital Statistics has refused to place the Intended Mother on her child’s birth certificate – the justification was based on Idaho’s definition of “live birth” which means “the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of human conception”. The Intended Father could be placed on the birth certificate immediately merely by signing an affidavit of paternity; however, Idaho Vital Stats insisted on placing the Gestational Carrier on the birth certificate as she most closely fit the definition of “Mother” under Idaho law – but, of course, she is not the mother and typically terminates any potential parental rights shortly after birth. Thus, the child would truly be “motherless” when the intended mother is not on the birth certificate and the gestational carrier’s rights have been terminated. Until recently, Idaho’s position was that the Intended Mother could only become the child’s legal mother through adoption. This, of course, makes no sense – why would a Mother need to adopt her own child? Yet, it even gets worse… for those who don’t live in Idaho you can’t adopt as a non-resident under our laws – therefore one would need to have an adoption performed in their home state (which could take months) before the birth certificate would actually be amended.

Finally, an Intended Parents couple sought to challenge the position of Idaho Vital Stats – and a judge with some common sense issued a Writ of Mandamus requiring the Idaho Department of Vital Stats to identify the Intended Parents as the parents on the child’s birth certificate. The decision of the Court was just handed down on February 6, 2014. It’s been reported by Idaho’s Office of the Attorney General, that the decision of the trial court will not be appealed and the Idaho Department of Vital Stats will now adhere to the trial court’s judge’s ruling. It is with great pleasure that we can now accurately state that Idaho is true “surrogacy friendly”. For a free copy of the documentation setting forth the history of these legal issues and a copy of the judge’s ruling, please give us a call.


Changes in Idaho Adoption/Termination in 2013:

After several instances in which unmarried putative fathers lost the right to parent their child against their will (and at times due to deceptive behavior by a birth mother including leaving their home state), the laws have been clarified to protect against such potential abuses – the key changes to the law include the following under Idaho Code 16-1504:

Of Interest:

Did you know that 1 out of every 3 teenagers in Idaho will be pregnant before they reach their 20th birthday? For detailed information regarding teen pregnancy, please visit:

Helpful Links:

Payments Received Here: law-pay

Contact Us

Law Office of Jeffrey T. Sheehan

465 West Main Street
Boise, Idaho 83702
Office: (208) 287-4499 (Text or Call)
Cell: (208) 559-0845 (Text or Call)
Fax: (208) 287-4435

Map and Directions

  • How can we help you?