DOD and VA To Expand Use Of IVF

DOD and VA Expand IVF Program Eligibility

According to the American Medical Association, infertility affects one in eight couples in the United States. Among active military and veterans, this number is even higher because of service-connected health conditions. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had previously limited in vitro fertilization (IVF) to married, heterosexual couples, but New Jersey adoption attorneys note that those rules are changing in 2024.

In Vitro Fertilization

IVF involves a complex and personalized series of procedures that can lead to pregnancy. It is currently the most effective fertility treatment involving the direct handling of sperm and eggs or embryos.

DOD and VA IVF Programs

The DOD and VA established their IVF programs in 2017 as directed by a number of health-, military- and veteran-related acts that Congress passed in 2016 and 2017.

Criticisms of the DOD, VA IVF Programs

Since their inception, there have been two main criticisms of the DOD and VA IVF programs. One is that the DOD and VA limit access to military personnel and veterans who are infertile as a result of their military service. The other is that the agencies limit access to married, heterosexual couples using their own sperm and eggs or embryos.

Yale Law School and NOW Lawsuits

In August 2023, civil rights and veterans advocates sued the VA and DOD based on both criticisms. The groups involved were the:

  • New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)
  • Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic
  • National Veterans Legal Services Program

The lawsuits were a partial success. Soon after they were filed, the DOD and VA agreed to end the marriage requirement and the ban on donor gametes. Both agencies, however, retained the requirement that infertility must be linked to a service-connected injury, illness, or disability.

Updates to the IVF Programs

The changes promised in August 2023 became official with both the DOD and VA in March 2024. Through the new policies, any military personnel or veteran with service-connected fertility now has access to the IVF program. Both agencies noted that there was pent-up demand and that they would begin enrolling newly eligible participants by the end of the month.

The newly eligible participants have access to all of the infertility-related services and benefits that had been available previously. These include:

  • Laboratory tests
  • Imaging services
  • Surgical correction
  • Hormone therapies
  • Vasectomy reversal
  • Fertility medications
  • Adoption reimbursement
  • Sperm retrieval techniques
  • Infertility assessments and counseling


Under the current law, neither the DOD nor VA can cover surrogacy. The IVF procedure can include surrogacy, but the patients need to fund it out of pocket and oversee the logistics.

Potential for Future IVF Program Updates

Whether there will be additional lawsuits to push for further changes, such as including surrogacy and expanding the program to all infertile military personnel and veterans, remains to be seen. With or without additional lawsuits, such updates will likely require Congress to pass new laws that explicitly require these changes.

According to some experts, these new laws are possible. While infertility rates among military personnel and veterans are generally declining, demand for assisted reproduction is rising. In addition, the U.S. military has openly recognized that family building is a crucial aspect of happy service people who continue their careers with the armed forces.

Local Representation in New Jersey for Assisted Reproduction

The Law Office of Cofsky & Zeidman has decades of experience representing clients in New Jersey in matters of adoption and assisted reproduction. We appreciate the challenges you face and would like to help you make the best decisions for you and your family. To meet with a New Jersey adoption attorney, call our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005, our Woodbury office at (856) 845-2555, or contact us online.

5 Tips for Parenting an Adopted Child

While adoption brings a lot of benefits to families, the unfortunate reality is that it also increases the child’s risks of mental health problems and attachment issues. To avoid the potential pitfalls of adoption, it is essential to put some extra thought into how you parent adopted children. Here are some of the top tips from adoption and childcare experts.

Be Honest About the Adoption From the Start

Interviews with adult adoptees show that one of the biggest risk factors for adoption trauma is secrecy. When a person has spent their whole life believing one thing, finding out their family lied to them is a huge blow to their sense of self. Adoption advocates encourage parents to always be up front about the situation. Figuring out when to tell your child they’re adopted doesn’t have to be complex. Just start with simple, child-friendly explanations when they first ask where they came from or when they joined your family. By making sure your child always knows their origins, you can avoid unpleasant surprises later on.

Don’t Try to Block Access to Biological Parents

Many adoptive parents feel a sense of resentment toward the idea of their child meeting their biological parents. While this sense of jealousy is natural, it is important to overcome it. Many childcare experts believe that an open adoption is the most effective choice. Try to remember that love is not a finite resource. Your child spending time with their biological parents doesn’t diminish the deep parental bond you have with them. You can still easily maintain boundaries by having a New Jersey adoption lawyer draft a document that addresses things like how often contact takes place or who can initiate contact in your open adoption. No matter what sort of contact you decide on, try to let your child lead the relationship. Listen to them and help them see their biological family as much or as little as they want to.

Take the Time to Acknowledge Trauma

Research shows that early childhood trauma can still have an effect even if the person doesn’t remember it. For a newborn, leaving the person who smells and sounds familiar to them can be just as traumatic as a child leaving the parent who raised them. Furthermore, older children may grieve the loss of a biological family even if they never met them. It’s important to give your child space to deal with this grief and avoid making them feel bad for their emotions. Adoptive parents who provide unlimited love and support can help their children better process these feelings.

Don’t Make Your Child Feel Like They Owe You

When discussing adoption, many people say things like, “You are giving an underprivileged child a better life.” This sort of attitude can cause problems because it creates an inherent sense of imbalance in your relationship. Adoptive children are often left feeling like they owe a huge debt of gratitude or are being judged for their ancestry. Instead of approaching the situation as if you have done a special service for your child, try to focus on all the joy and happiness your child has given you.

Always Be Open to Learning More on the Subject

Like any other type of parenting, parenting an adopted child is a process. Your family is always growing and changing, and there’s always new information to consider. The best adoptive parents are those who can admit they don’t know everything. By being willing to listen to adopted children and taking the time to research adoptive parent tips, you can get the information you need to give your child a happy, healthy life.

No matter what stage your family is in, Cofsky & Zeidman are here to help. As one of the top New Jersey adoption lawyers, Donald Cofsky has plenty of experience helping with things like finalizing adoptions or communicating with birth parents. Our Haddonfield, Woodbury, and Philadelphia teams can help you and your family find an effective arrangement. Call 856-429-5005 or fill out our contact form to schedule your consultation.

Assisted Reproduction for Breast Cancer Patients

Obtaining Assisted Reproduction as a Breast Cancer Patient

For breast cancer patients who are looking to become pregnant but are currently undergoing endocrine therapy, assisted reproduction may be an option. In 2021 alone, nearly 92,000 live births took place because of assisted reproduction. Recent studies have been performed to assess the possibility of using assisted reproduction for HR-positive breast cancer patients.

What Is Assisted Reproduction?

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) involves various techniques that can be used to treat cases of infertility. These fertility treatments are capable of handling sperm and eggs. The process typically occurs by removing the eggs from the ovaries that are then mixed with the sperm to create embryos. Once the embryos are formed, they are placed into the parent’s body. The numerous types of assisted reproduction available to prospective parents include the following:

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Embryo transfers
  • Surrogacy arrangements
  • Artificial insemination

ART treatments can use donor sperm, donor eggs, or frozen embryos. The person who carries the embryos can be a gestational or surrogate carrier. A gestational carrier is someone who becomes pregnant with sperm from one partner and an egg from the other. In comparison, a surrogate is an individual who provides the egg, is inseminated with the sperm from one member of the couple, and then carries the resulting child.

If you have questions about the differences between a surrogate and a gestational carrier and which one may meet your needs, a New Jersey assisted reproduction lawyer may be able to provide clarification.

What Is HR-positive Breast Cancer?

HR-positive breast cancer is a common type that develops because of the hormone receptors found on breast cells. These receptors pick up the progesterone or estrogen signals that cause cell growth to occur. If the cells have receptors for one or both hormones, breast cancer is considered HR-positive. By identifying whether the tumor requires one or both hormones to grow, it becomes easier to target and treat the cancer.

The primary treatment that is administered to patients who suffer from this form of breast cancer is endocrine therapy. The purpose of this treatment is to reduce the possibility of the cancer returning. Some patients begin receiving the treatment before the surgery takes place. In most cases, the treatment must be taken for five or more years, which may impact a woman’s ability to give birth.

Initial Assisted Reproduction Study

In early December 2023, the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium was held among scientists and clinicians to focus on improving the diagnosis and treatment of all types of breast cancer. During the symposium, researchers presented results from the recent POSITIVE trial, which was performed to determine if assisted reproductive technologies impacted breast cancer recurrence rates for patients with HR-positive breast cancer.

Since the average age of childbearing has been increasing over the past decade, more women are being diagnosed with cancer before they have even started a family. Because of the issues that can be caused by endocrine therapy, many patients are choosing to use fertility preservation techniques before starting treatment. ART techniques are also used to increase the chances of a pregnancy. The most common fertility preservation methods involve ovarian stimulation, gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs, and cryopreservation of ovarian tissue.

The results of the POSITIVE clinical trial indicate that patients who suffer from HR-positive breast cancer can pause their treatment for up to 24 months. During this time, the chances of breast cancer returning shouldn’t increase. The timeline after the initial 24 months remains unclear.

Details from Secondary Study

A secondary analysis was performed to study the outcomes of the POSITIVE trial. Nearly 500 people participated in this trial by pausing endocrine therapy. Just under 75% of these participants became pregnant.

The people who took part in this study used different types of assisted reproduction and fertility preservation. For example, 179 participants used oocyte or embryo preservation before taking part in the trial. Another 215 participants used ART to try to become pregnant.

During this study, researchers discovered that more than 82% of patients who took part in cryopreserved embryo transfer became pregnant. Close to 10% of patients used ovarian stimulation before cryopreservation, which didn’t result in worse disease outcomes. Around 9.7% of breast cancer patients who took part in this procedure went through breast cancer recurrence within two to three years. The rate was just under 9% among patients who didn’t undergo the procedure.

If you are considering starting a family with assisted reproduction technology, there are many moving parts to this process. From sperm donor contracts to pre-birth orders of parentage, numerous types of arrangements can be made before and during assisted reproduction. If you require legal representation, call our New Jersey adoption lawyer today at (856) 429-5005 to schedule a meeting.

Telling Your Children That They Were Born Through Assisted Reproduction

Having the Talk About Assisted Reproduction

According to some New Jersey adoption attorneys, more than 2% of infants born in the state are conceived through assisted reproductive technology. Those in the ART field expect that number to continue rising as the technologies improve and society becomes more comfortable with the approach overall. Furthermore, we are now gaining research that shows how ART affects the children later in life.

What Is Assisted Reproduction?

Assisted reproduction is a broad term, and the definition varies based on who is using it and where. Generally, it refers to any conception achieved through medical assistance involving the ovary. That includes combining ovaries and sperm in a laboratory and then returning them to a woman’s body. In some cases, the ovary is returned to the woman who provided it. In others, it is donated to another woman who will serve as the mother or surrogate mother.

In the U.S., gestational surrogacy is most common. This is where the surrogate mother has no genetic connection to the child she is carrying. Partial surrogacy is an option as well and much more common in the United Kingdom, for instance. It is also more prevalent overseas for surrogates to become part of the family. Commercial surrogates are more pervasive in the U.S. However, some families want the relationship and seek it out, and it is becoming more common here according to some experts.

Parents Worry Over Telling Children

When it comes to adoption, our society has many decades of experience and a wealth of data to fall back on. We generally know what to expect from child outcomes and the paths necessary to achieve positive ones. This is not yet the case with ART. It is only recently that we have access to studies involving many children who were achieved through ART and have now progressed into adulthood.

One of the chief concerns that parents and others have had is when should you tell a child that they were conceived through ART? Not only when should you tell them, but how much should you disclose?

Telling Children Early Helps

A 2023 study published in the journal Developmental Psychology followed 65 children. Of that group, 22 were born via surrogacy, 26 by sperm donation and 17 through egg donation. Researchers met with the children at age 1, 2, 3, 7, 10 and 14. What they found at age 3 did not come as a surprise. This is the point when children become curious about babies. They want to understand why they are here.

The data also showed that children who were told before age 7 reported better relationships with their mothers throughout their lives. When asked when they learned about the assisted reproduction, the children in this group responded that they always knew. This means that they grew up with the information and never had to experience the shock or surprise that could undermine trust.

Children who were born through surrogacy and made aware of it did tend to experience relationship issues around age 7. At this point, their mental advancement was allowing them to grapple with the concept of surrogacy. But when the researchers returned at age 10, those issues had disappeared in all cases.

Children Want to Be Wanted

One of the things the researchers found was that the assisted reproduction became even more of a positive as the children aged. The children knew they were wanted. This was important to them above all else, and they talked to the researchers about it a great deal.

Legal Representation for Assisted Reproduction

The Law Office of Cofsky & Zeidman has more than 25 years of experience helping families. That includes navigating the many wonderful varieties of assisted reproduction that help people realize their dreams of starting a family. We provide initial consultations without charge or obligation. If you’re ready to begin this journey or already underway, have your case reviewed by a seasoned New Jersey adoption attorney. To set up that appointment, call our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005 or our Woodbury location at (856) 845-2555, or contact us online.

Some Challenges That Adopted Children Face

Adopting Older Children

Research by the Arizona Department of Child Safety found that very few children who age out of foster care earn a college degree, and one in five become homeless after turning 18. While some may argue that older children have the greatest need for adoption, they often face the greatest challenges afterwards. They may struggle to form connections with their new family and experience serious grief over missing their biological family.

To help older adopted children adjust to their new family and environment, it is important to be mindful of their needs. Give them time and space to process the changes in their lives, and don’t try to force relationships. Including things that might remind them of the positive aspects of their former life could also be helpful. For example, cooking food they might have regularly had before or taking them to familiar places may help them feel as though they haven’t lost every part of their past. Try to keep an open mind and communicate your expectations clearly. Once they realize you are trustworthy and have their best interests at heart, they will likely come to love their new home and your family.

Establishing Identity

No matter what age a child is adopted, they may have feelings of not belonging at some point in their lives. Once they become aware they are adopted, they may feel as though they are not the same as your other children because they are not your biological child. They also might have a sense of displacement because they don’t know their biological parents or their family history.

One important step in preparing to tell your child they are adopted is being ready to talk about their biological family. It is a good idea to compile as much information as the biological parents are comfortable providing so you can help your child form a more solid sense of identity. Being able to tell your adopted child why their biological parents decided to give them up for adoption could help them adjust more positively. Also, being able to describe their biological parents’ mannerisms and appearance can help the child feel as though they have some insight into where they came from.

If possible, it might be a good idea to foster a relationship between the biological parents and the child, if the adopted parents believe it would be beneficial. If all parties agree, a New Jersey adoption attorney could help create an agreement between the parents that establishes healthy boundaries for communication and interaction with the child.

Addressing Traumatic Experiences

Your child could have been exposed to unhealthy and traumatic circumstances before they came to live with you. It is a good idea to attempt to identify those negative issues before adoption and make a plan to address them. Your New Jersey adoption attorney could help compile information about the biological parents to identify any potential problems associated with their background. If not dealt with, trauma can cause difficulty in developing relationships, managing school requirements and adjusting to their new environment. Additionally, the discovery that they are adopted could be a traumatic experience that could have a lasting impact on their mental health.

Providing counseling services for your adopted child may help them learn to work through their negative experiences from biological families or foster care placements. They will also learn skills to help them cope with any negative emotions they may have related to adoption.

If you are considering adoption, you need a New Jersey advocate who will look out for the best interest of your family and your new addition. At Cofsky & Zeidman, we are ready to do everything we can to help you have the best adoption experience possible. Call our Haddonfield location today at 856-429-5005, and let us help you create the family you’ve always wanted.

New Jersey Enacts Legislation Expanding Insurance Coverage for Infertility Care

On January 12, 2024, a significant milestone was achieved in the realm of reproductive healthcare and reproductive freedom in the state of New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy signed a groundbreaking bill into law, marking a momentous step towards making fertility services more accessible and affordable for all residents. This crucial legislation not only addresses the financial burdens faced by individuals and families struggling with infertility but also serves as a beacon of hope for same-sex couples seeking to expand their families. In this article, we will delve into the details of this remarkable development and its implications, highlighting how it reinforces the commitment of New Jersey to supporting those on the journey towards parenthood.

Infertility Care

Expanding Insurance Coverage for Infertility Treatment

The new legislation represents a pivotal moment in the fight for reproductive rights, as it extends insurance coverage for infertility treatment to all individuals in the state of New Jersey. For many couples and individuals, the costs associated with infertility treatments can be exorbitant, often acting as a formidable barrier to pursuing their dreams of parenthood. With this bill, these financial obstacles are significantly reduced, if not entirely eliminated, ensuring that those who desire to start or expand their families have access to the necessary medical assistance.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this legislation is that it does not discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation. It recognizes the diverse range of families in New Jersey and ensures that same-sex couples, as well as LGBTQ+ individuals, are equally entitled to fertility services and insurance coverage. This is a testament to the state’s commitment to inclusivity and support for all individuals on their path to parenthood.

A Dream Come True for Many

Infertility can be a heartbreaking and emotionally taxing journey for those who experience it. The prospect of starting a family may seem unattainable due to the immense financial burden associated with fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or assisted reproductive technologies (ART). However, with the enactment of this legislation, the dream of parenthood is now within reach for countless New Jersey residents.

By expanding insurance coverage for infertility treatments, the bill alleviates the financial stress that often accompanies infertility. This means that individuals and couples will no longer have to make difficult choices between their desire to have children and their financial well-being. This newfound accessibility to fertility services empowers families to make choices based on their aspirations and needs, rather than being constrained by financial limitations.

An Inclusive Approach to Reproductive Rights

One of the most laudable aspects of New Jersey’s new legislation is its commitment to inclusivity and equal access to fertility services. The bill’s recognition of diverse family structures ensures that all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have the same rights and opportunities to seek fertility treatment. This marks a significant stride toward equal representation and acceptance in the realm of reproductive healthcare, reinforcing New Jersey’s commitment to inclusivity and equality.

A Resounding Victory for Reproductive Freedom

The signing of this legislation sends a powerful message about New Jersey’s unwavering support for reproductive freedom. It is a testament to the state’s dedication to providing comprehensive healthcare options for its residents and ensuring that the pursuit of parenthood remains a viable and attainable goal.

By expanding insurance coverage for infertility care, New Jersey joins a select group of states leading the way in reproductive rights. This victory has been welcomed with open arms by advocates for infertility awareness and reproductive health, as it demonstrates a clear commitment to addressing the unique challenges faced by those struggling with infertility.

A Step Towards a Brighter Future

The impact of this legislation extends far beyond the immediate benefits of expanded insurance coverage for infertility treatments. It signifies a societal shift towards greater compassion, understanding, and support for individuals and couples facing infertility. It acknowledges the profound emotional and psychological toll that infertility can take and offers a lifeline to those in need.

For many, the journey to parenthood has been an arduous one, marked by uncertainty and frustration. The signing of this bill is not only a legislative achievement but also a symbol of hope and perseverance. It reaffirms that the state of New Jersey is committed to standing with its residents in their pursuit of happiness, family, and fulfillment.


The enactment of legislation expanding insurance coverage for infertility care in New Jersey is a momentous occasion in the fight for reproductive rights. This comprehensive approach to strengthening reproductive healthcare and reproductive freedom is a resounding victory for all individuals and families struggling with infertility, including same-sex couples and LGBTQ+ individuals. It signifies a significant step towards making the dream of parenthood a reality for countless residents.

We applaud the state’s commitment to inclusivity, equal access, and affordable healthcare. We understand the legal complexities that may arise in this context and are here to support and advocate for individuals and couples seeking fertility treatments. The expansion of insurance coverage for infertility care is not only a legislative achievement but also a symbol of hope and progress for New Jersey and its residents.

Attorney Donald Cofsky is a Fellow and a Past President of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. He has assisted over 2,000 couples and individuals in completing their adoptions and forming their families. Call to schedule a consultation with Mr. Cofsky at 856- 429-5005

The Mediterranean diet and in vitro fertilization

The Mediterranean Diet and In Vitro Fertilization

In vitro fertilization is a medical process that helps women with fertility issues to conceive. During an IVF cycle, eggs are fertilized in a laboratory and then placed in the patient’s uterus. Each IVF cycle is expensive, and many women go through several cycles before they become pregnant. To improve their chances of conceiving through IVF, women often alter their diets or take nutritional supplements.

It is known that diets high in saturated fats and processed sugars can reduce fertility, but does eating healthier food improve the chances of becoming pregnant? To answer that question, a team of researchers reviewed 27 studies that examined the impact nutritional interventions have on IVF success.

Diet, Supplements and IVF Success Rates

The studies reviewed were published between 2015 and 2023. The research team, which was led by an obstetrics and gynecology professor from the University of Western Australia, found that taking some nutritional supplements appears to lead to better IVF outcomes, but the evidence was far from compelling. Nutritional supplements that could help women to conceive through IVF include:

  • DHEA and COQ-10: Some of the studies reviewed suggest that a combination of dehydroepiandrosterone and COQ-10 can boost ovarian stimulation. These supplements could be especially beneficial for older IVF patients as egg production peaks in the late teens and early 20s.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids and melatonin: The researchers found some evidence linking omega-3 fatty acid and melatonin supplements with increased fertility and better IVF outcomes.
  • Myoinositol: Taking myoinositol supplements could help women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome to conceive. However, the researchers say that more studies are needed to better understand the link between myoinositol and fertility.

Other nutritional supplements like antioxidants seem to have little or no effect on fertility or IVF outcomes. The researchers also reviewed studies that explored the benefits of following a Mediterranean diet while undergoing IVF treatment. The evidence linking dietary interventions with improved IVF outcomes was much stronger in these studies.

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is recommended by many doctors and health groups because it is high in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Based on the foods typically consumed in southern Europe, the Mediterranean diet is rich in:

  • Fruits, vegetables and legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Fish and poultry
  • Plant-based fats like olive oil

People who follow the Mediterranean diet eat less of the processed foods that have been linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and the foods they do eat are low in sodium and good sources of health promoting B-complex vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that these nutrients can also improve fertility. The researchers concluded that following the Mediterranean diet is the most effective step that women who are receiving IVF treatments can take.

The Mediterranean diet promotes health and wellness, and studies suggest that following it can improve fertility in just six weeks. Researchers who produced a study published in the medical journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology in 2019 reached similar conclusions. They found that following the Mediterranean diet can increase the number of embryos available for IVF treatment.

IVF Legal Issues

IVF gives women who have had difficulty becoming pregnant the opportunity to have children, but undergoing this type of medical treatment raises some thorny legal issues. If you are thinking about exploring IVF, a New Jersey adoption lawyer could help you by reviewing all of the agreements and documents you will be asked to sign to make sure that your rights are protected. An attorney may also help you to decide how your embryos will be stored and who will have access to them if you decide to divorce or separate.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with a New Jersey adoption lawyer to discuss legal issues relating to IVF, you can call us at (856) 429-5005 or complete our online form. Our New Jersey offices are located in Haddonfield and Woodbury, and our Pennsylvania office is in Philadelphia.

International Adoptions and the IR-4 Visa

Completing International Adoptions with IR-4 Visas

Almost 140 million children around the world have lost at least one parent, and Unicef reports an estimated 15.1 million children around the world have lost both parents. If you are considering adoption as a way to add to your family, you might consider adopting internationally. International adoption could allow you to expand your family and provide hope, love and new opportunities to a child from abroad with an Immediate Relative (IR-4) visa.

What is the IR-4 Visa?

An IR-4 visa is an immigrant visa for children from non-Hague Convention countries that allows their adoptive parents to complete the adoption process in the U.S. With this type of visa, you can bring your new child to the U.S. and finish the adoption process instead of waiting for it to conclude in the child’s home country.

The U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate issues an IR-4 visa after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves Form I-600. Once the embassy or consulate issues the IR-4 visa, you can bring your child to the U.S. to finish the process.

IR-4 Visa Eligibility Requirements

Before you can get an IR-4 visa, both you and the child must meet certain criteria. If unmarried, you must be at least 25 years old. If married, both you and your spouse must sign all the forms and agree to adopt your child. You’ll also need to pass the eligibility test from the USCIS and meet the following requirements:

  • Be willing to obtain guardianship of the child in their home country and then finalize their adoption in the U.S.
  • Secure permission from the child’s home country to bring them to the U.S. to adopt.
  • Have a valid address in the U.S.
  • Plan to live with the child in the U.S.
  • Prove you will be able to properly care for the child as a parent.

The child you plan to adopt must meet the following criteria:

  • Be younger than 16 (or younger than 18 if you have adopted their sibling).
  • Be from a non-Hague Convention country.
  • Be classified as an orphan.
  • Meet other adoption criteria outlined in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

You also do not have to meet the child in person before you can get an IR-4 visa.

How To Apply for an IR-4 Visa

To get an IR-4 visa, you will first need to submit Form I-600A for advance processing of an orphan adoption petition and Form I-600 to apply to have your child classified as your immediate relative. You can file the two forms together or separately. Once the USCIS approves your Form I-600 petition, the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in the child’s home country will issue the IR-4 visa.

Form I-600A allows the government to determine whether you are eligible to adopt internationally as a parent. You can file this form separately if you have not yet identified a child to adopt but want to expedite the process once you find a child. Once you file this form, the USCIS will complete criminal background checks on you and everyone else in your home who is 18 or older.

Once the USCIS has approved your petition, and you have found a child you want to adopt, you can file Form I-600. This form allows the government to verify the child qualifies as an orphan under the INA. A child qualifies as an orphan if they do not have a living parent or if they only have one parent who is not capable of caring for the child and has relinquished their rights.

After the USCIS has approved both forms, you can apply for the IR-4 visa by filing Form DS-260. Finally, you will need to complete an interview at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.

Contact a New Jersey Adoption Lawyer

If you are thinking about adopting internationally and would like to learn more about the IR-4 visa, you should talk to a New Jersey adoption lawyer at Cofsky & Zeidman. Our experienced attorneys have years of experience helping people complete all types of adoptions, including international adoptions. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, contact us in Haddonfield, New Jersey, by calling 856-429-5005 or in Woodbury, New Jersey, at 856-845-2555.

Addressing Infertility

Everything You Should Know About Infertility

From heavy alcohol consumption to severe uterine disorders, many factors cause someone to become infertile. In the U.S. today, nearly 20% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 who haven’t given birth are infertile. Addressing the challenges of infertility with effective technologies make it possible for infertile individuals to have children.

What Is Infertility?

Infertility is a condition that occurs when someone is unable to conceive after at least one year of unprotected sex. Fertility invariably declines with age among women, which is why women who are at least 35 years old will be treated for infertility after six months. For a pregnancy to occur, four steps must take place.

Infertility can develop during any step in this process: First, a woman’s body will need to release an egg from an ovary. A man’s sperm must then join the egg through fertilization. This egg then travels through the Fallopian tube before reaching the uterus. A woman can only become pregnant once the embryo attaches to the interior of the uterus.

Causes of Infertility

A wide range of unique factors can cause infertility in the reproductive system. However, the specific cause of this issue isn’t always clear. A common cause of infertility in a woman’s reproductive system involves inflammatory uterine disorders, which can be either benign or congenital. Disorders in the ovaries or endocrine system can also cause infertility problems. The presence of an untreated sexually transmitted infection might result in a tubal disorder that blocks fallopian tubes and makes it impossible to become pregnant.

As for the male reproductive system, infertility can be caused by a hormonal disorder that leads to abnormalities among hormones made by the testicles and pituitary gland. Testicular and pituitary cancers can lead to hormonal disorders. Abnormal sperm quality or function can cause infertility as well. For example, anabolic steroid use can change sperm shape and count.

Some lifestyle factors increase your risk of becoming infertile, which include obesity, high alcohol intake and smoking. People who are regularly exposed to environmental toxins or pollutants could become infertile.

Importance of Addressing Infertility

Everyone should have the means to decide when and how many children they want. Infertility can make it challenging for some people to access this human right, however. Over the past few decades, numerous technologies have been developed and improved to solve infertility problems and allow more people to start families. These services can be accessed by anyone from older individuals to same-sex partners. Contact our New Jersey adoption attorney if you have questions about your options for having a child.

Challenges to Overcome

In the U.S., it’s possible for individuals or couples who are infertile to benefit from modern infertility solutions. However, the availability of these treatments is relatively scarce in many countries that might not have the same resources. In some countries, treating infertility isn’t considered a top priority. Certain countries that are working to address infertility are running into roadblocks that include everything from a lack of the right equipment and personnel to the high costs associated with medications needed for treatment.

In recent years, millions of children have been born via assisted reproduction technologies (ART). The main technologies available to you include the following:

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  • Frozen embryo transfer (FET)
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

Many of these technologies are unavailable in low-income countries. There are, however, potential solutions to the inequities that result in fewer people having easy access to effective fertility treatments. One solution involves the government creating health policies that treat infertility as a disease that can be prevented. In this scenario, more people could avoid needing these treatments in the first place.

Some additional solutions include teaching healthy lifestyles, promoting STI prevention and treatment, developing fertility awareness programs, addressing environmental toxins and preventing many of the complications that occur from abdominal surgery and unsafe abortions.

Also, governments need to create laws that effectively regulate assisted reproduction technologies to provide universal access. At the moment, these technologies are too expensive for many people. By putting these fertility policies in place, lasting change may be possible. However, the policies must be overseen once they’re introduced to ensure they work as intended.

If you or your partner is having difficulty getting pregnant, there are many potential solutions you can consider, which include everything from assisted reproduction to adoption. When you are considering one of these arrangements and would like to have legal representation, call our New Jersey adoption attorney at 856-429-5005 to schedule an appointment.

How Will Artificial Intelligence Improve the Adoption Process?

The answer to whether AI can help the adoption process is almost certainly yes, but many New Jersey adoption lawyers are measured in their optimism. Trial runs in various states have largely been unsuccessful as of 2023 with perhaps the exception of Family-Match in Florida. AI cannot predict human behavior, and while AI-powered predictive analysis most certainly can be a powerful tool for adoption agencies and social workers, there are implementation challenges and ethical concerns that must be overcome.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

AI is a computer field with a primary goal of solving cognitive problems that are often linked to human intelligence. While the term AI can evoke heady sci-fi concepts, it is generally much more mundane in practice. Consider a social worker who must evaluate potential foster families for a hard-to-place child. It can be an enormous task, and if AI could effectively pare down the decisions to be made, the social worker could be much more effective and efficient in finding matches that work. Adoption professionals have long used software tools to match preferences. AI is ideally more than that. In this context, it is, according to one expert, the usage of science to predict long-term success.

The Adoption-Share Example

Thea Ramirez is currently at the forefront of this discussion. She is the CEO of the non-profit Adoption-Share, which developed an algorithm — one of the few adoption algorithms on the market as of 2023 — based on research conducted for online dating. The name of the algorithm is Family-Match, and, while there was a great deal of optimism for it initially, that appears to have been short-lived.

Tennessee canceled its trial run prior to launching it due to incompatibilities with its own system. Georgia, which is where Adoption-Share is based and, as far as what is known, provided it the greatest access to state-controlled data, ended the trial within a year. Virginia made the largest financial commitment to the nonprofit, ran a two-year trial and then opted not to continue with it.

Florida is the one state that continues to use it beyond the trial run by funding it with taxpayer money. But Florida is an interesting case. The child welfare system there is privatized. Neither the agencies that use the algorithm nor Adoption-Share itself are forthcoming with data, and an AP investigation revealed widespread dissatisfaction among the social workers using the system.

What Are the Ethical Concerns?

One of the core ethical concerns is access to private information and how algorithms use that data. The AP investigation revealed that Georgia allows Adoption-Share to track gender, sexual abuse and whether a child identifies as LGBTQIA+. Such information is generally tightly controlled and restricted in how it can be used. The AP also found that in Tennessee, the algorithm asked potential families if they were “unconventional” or “uncreative” and whether they “seek God’s help.” Social welfare advocates have expressed concerns that, as a society, we are using children as guinea pigs and that these tools may worsen racial disparities in the adoption process and discriminate against families.

A More Positive Outlook

The concerns and failures associated with Adoption-Share reinforce the need to methodically implement AI into the adoption process, with checks and balances in place. That said, there are already tremendous successes with AI within the business world that should provide us hope. One of the great challenges of the adoption system is the mountain of information that there is to climb, and AI, when used in a calculated and ethical manner, can allow people to focus on the human decisions that really matter.

Legal Help for Adoption in New Jersey

If you need legal assistance with adoption and are located in New Jersey, Cofsky & Zeidman is here to help. Our law firm has extensive experience navigating both private and agency adoptions. To schedule a consultation with one of our New Jersey adoption lawyers, contact us online, or call our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005 or our Woodbury office at (856) 845-2555.