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Surrogacy, gestational carriers, embryo donors, DNA – it’s a mixed-up, mumbled-up, shook-up world. Three cases garnering national attention derive from Pennsylvania, a state that has not adopted a version of the Uniform Parentage Act and has precious little legislation to guide the courts. Tonight at 8 on WFMZ-TV 69, Christopher Naughton’s Law Journal will present “Brave New World – How Technology Is Blurring the Line of Parenthood” with family law practitioners David Ladov of Cozen O’Connor and Donald F. Spry II of King Spry Herman Freund & Faul. Melissa Brisman, who has handled several landmark cases, and licensed social worker Judith Kottick will join the panel. “What’s really emerging is a brave new world here,” said Spry, “I think we’re moving towards a substitution of a biological analysis to an intention analysis. The courts are still interested in the best interest of the child but they are getting there in a different way.” The program examines assisted reproduction cases beginning with the landmark 1998 Buzzanca case in California, where a child was deemed “parentless” for three years due to the fact that neither the “intended parents” or the carrier were biologically related to the child. The panel also addresses recent key Pennsylvania cases involving gestational carriers with no biological ties moving for custody; terminating support based on DNA evidence and fraud; and a sperm donor ordered to pay support . Some of the controversy surrounding these cases relates to the dearth of legislative direction. “So often,” said Ladov, “judges make decisions to prompt the legislature, get off your duff and help us all out. And Pennsylvania, so far, is silent.” Perhaps that’s why, in part, “Pennsylvania continues to be a breeding ground for setting groundbreaking precedents in this ever growing field of reproductive law,” said Brisman, who has handled several high profile cases in the state including a Bucks County birth order where same-sex partners were named as parents on their child’s birth certificate. The good news is that very few of these cases are contested. “This [contesting custody in gestational/surrogacy agreements] doesn’t happen very often,” said Kottick. “Most carriers have great feeling for the intended parents as being the best parent for the child. That’s why they are doing it.” Law Journal broadcasts live for one hour every Monday at 8 p.m. on WFMZ-TV 69. Visit www.LawJournalTV.com for schedules, attorney profiles and to view streaming video of all programs broadcast in the past year. Next week: “Employment: Union Vs. Non-Union Tension at the Workplace.”

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