Tammy and Jordan Myers have a nine-year old daughter named Corryn and two 10-month-old twins named Ellison and Eames. But according to the couple—who live in Grand Rapids, Michigan—an antiquated state law is trying to tear their family apart.
A Cancer Diagnosis Has Changed Their Family Planning
Tammy was diagnosed as having breast cancer and her treatment meant that she was unable to have children. Jordan and Tammy still wanted to expand their family. They decided to use a sperm carrier for their twins. They are now being forced to adopt their biological children due to Michigan’s outdated surrogacy law.
As their twins’ first birthday approaches, Tammy and Jordan are still in the midst of an adoption case. They will have to undergo home inspections and mental evaluations. They will also need letters of recommendation in order for their biological children to be adopted. Lauren, their surrogate for the arrangement, was legally in agreement.
It’s a difficult decision
Tammy said People that her pregnancy with Corryn was “difficult but beautiful.” Despite the complications, the moment she saw her daughter Tammy said she looked at her husband and told him she would do it all over again.
“I knew right away I wanted more—I’d wanted a large family since I was a girl,” Tammy said.
Corryn was two-and a half years old when Tammy & Jordyn moved their three children from Ohio to Michigan. They bought a house. As a young married couple, she said that everything was falling into place and that it was the perfect time to start a family. Then she discovered a lump.
“The diagnosis was earth-shattering. Everything moved so quickly because of how aggressive breast cancer is in young women,” she explained.
Tammy inquired about the possibility of Tammy having children. The doctor told her she wouldn’t be able to do it the traditional way. Because she asked the right questions the doctor connected her with the right people, who set everything into motion.
“The only way we could grow our family with a biological child would be to harvest my eggs, freeze them, and use a gestational carrier,” Tammy explained. “It was a tough decision for us; it depleted everything we had in savings and put a really big financial burden on our family… It was a hard decision to make, but I’m grateful that we took the leap of faith.”
Michigan Is ‘Complicated’
Tammy and Jordan shared an emotional message via Facebook. She was a friend of a friend and a mom of two who felt called to help a family who couldn’t have children. So, she agreed to be Tammy and Jordan’s surrogate as a gift.
“It’s really complicated in Michigan, and we knew a little of that going in, but it’s hard to [really] know what you’re getting yourself into,” Tammy said. “We went through a fertility clinic in Grand Rapids, met with an attorney, drew up paperwork and a plan, and my eggs were fertilized with Jordan’s sperm. The embryos were implanted into our gestational carrier, Lauren.”
She admits that their attorney did warn her that in the worst-case scenario, they would have to adopt. Tammy never imagined that this would happen.
She claims they tried to obtain a pre-birth certificate, which is something other Michigan couples have received. The pre-birth order would have granted Tammy and Jordan legal rights to their twins, before they were born. The pre-birth order process was not completed until eight weeks before the babies were born.
The twins’ early arrival and the incomplete pre-birth order meant the couple had to fight for emergency legal rights to their children. But both attempts were denied, which forced the worst-case scenario Tammy never thought would happen—both she and Jordan had to fully adopt their own biological children.
Surrogacy is banned under Michigan law 1988
Tammy says that finding out they had to face this legal battle was “shattering.” She and Jordan discovered that Michigan’s 1988 Surrogate Parenting ActBoth parents and carriers have been made to consider compensating surrogacy illegal. Even if the surrogate isn’t compensated, the law states that any agreement made between the parties is null and void and won’t be recognized in court.
“Michigan’s current surrogacy law was passed in the 1980s as a reaction to the Baby M case, where a traditional surrogate who was biologically linked to the baby changed her mind about giving the child to the intended parents. She fled across the country with the child and spurred headlines, with the nation watching in horror,” Tammy explained.
She pointed out that Baby M is not surrogacy today. The gestational carrier does not have a genetic link to the baby. Tammy states that Lauren chose to bear the twins out-of-love. And Jordan added that their surrogate has “been more than supportive, fighting the good fight alongside us.”
Michigan Law Hasn’t Adapted to Reproductive Technology Advancements
Tammy argued that there have been huge advancements in reproductive technology over the past 40 years which have made it possible for people such as Jordan to safely raise their biological children. However, the Michigan laws involving surrogacy “have not kept up with these technological advances.”
Tammy and Jordan had their twins since birth and are currently their legal guardians. The couple hopes to have the adoption completed by their first birthday.
“The whole point of family law is to keep families together. We are all one family. They are our biological children. There’s no denying that. Yet they’re trying to tear us apart,” Jordan said.
Tammy believes that even after beating cancer, she still feels like she has more to do with her own life. Jordan was also told by Tammy that she believed it was her destiny to fight for their children’s future.
“We were meant to make this better,” Tammy said. “Unfortunately, we’re the example, but I hope our story going public means we will be the last family who faces this hardship in Michigan.”
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