Feb. 2, 2015 12:47 AM

Attorney Amy Kern of New Orleans, founder of Beginning Families, helps an average of five Louisiana couples a year have children through surrogacy, as well as many other couples — gay and straight — who want to adopt.

“I work with every IVF doctor in clinics based in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Shreveport,” Kern says.

Kern worked for the Louisiana State Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court, but entered private practice to bring the services of egg donation and gestational carriers to the state. Since 2007, she has held private adoption and assisted reproductive law as her primary focus for which she develops egg donor contracts, embryo donation contracts and gestational carrier contracts.

For surrogate births, Kern is the only lawyer in the state who helps match intended parents with potential gestational carriers, most of whom reside in Louisiana. When the carrier lives in the state, intended parents still have to adopt the child after the birth.

Kern requires both intended parents and carriers to pass a background check, psychological screening and an extensive interview with the Beginning Families’ social worker to ensure mental stability before signing a contract.

“I’ve turned down cases that seemed problematic,” she says.

But even with complicated paperwork, “everything’s always gone smoothly,” Kern adds. — MR

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