Couple denied parental rights after using gestational carrier
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WNEM) — A Michigan couple was denied parental rights to their biological twins after using a gestational carrier.
“We were actually trying for a second child when I found a lump,” Tammy Myers said.
Tammy and husband Jordan Meyers had two questions for doctors when she found out she had breast cancer.
How long does she have, and can they have another child?
The answer was yes, she would beat it and yes, they could have another child, but getting rights to her kids has proved to be a losing battle.
“An emotional roller coaster to say the least,” Myers said.
This comes five years after beating the devastating illness.
The mid-Michigan natives, who now live in Kent County, had twins through their gestational carrier, Lauren Vermilye using Tammy’s and Jordan’s genetic material and IVF.
Myers said Vermilye helped the couple fulfil their dreams out of the goodness of her heart, getting no compensation.
They even shared their gender reveal and maternity photos with her, adding Vermilye wants the family to have full custody of their babies. Yet she is listed as the mother on the birth certificate.
“She feels that she was blessed in her ability to have easy pregnancies and easy birth and she thought that it was a gift that she should share,” Myers said.
Elms and Ellison were born Jan. 11 at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. But getting the rights to their kids is a challenge due to a state law about surrogacy.
“It’s insane because of this archaic law that just doesn’t have any guard rails and what parents in a situation like ours are able to do,” Jordan Meyers said.
The family’s attorney, Melissa Neckers, said Michigan’s surrogacy parenting act, put into law decades ago makes compensated surrogacy illegal for carriers and intended parents.
“It’s absolutely wrong and we’re working to change the law,” Neckers said.
Even if a carrier isn’t paid, any agreement the parties come to isn’t acknowledged in court. So, even though Vermilye was never compensated, the Kent County judge ruled the Meyers cannot be the legal guardians,
Now the couple is forced to adopt their own children.
“Lots of other judges have worked to figure out a way that it can happen. And I can’t have county judges have not taking that next step. They feel like it’s against the law,” Neckers said.
Neckers and the Meyers are sharing their story because they want the law to change to ease the path for other families.
“I think we are finally at a point that people are realizing how ludicrous. And it’s truly affecting people’s lives, and somebody needs to do something about it,” Neckers said.
Their brand-new bundles of joy were born prematurely and remain in the hospital.
The Meyers said no matter what, when they are ready they are going home with their family.