If you are considering surrogacy, you need a surrogacy agreement to protect your interest and to ensure you are in the best legal position while you wait for your child to be born. Hopeful parents have options when choosing surrogate pregnancy.
Hopeful parents in a surrogacy situation are partnering with a surrogate in a:
- Traditional Surrogacy: The baby and the surrogate share genetic material and are biological relatives because the surrogate uses her egg to establish the pregnancy.
- Gestational Surrogacy: The baby and the surrogate are not related and share no genetic material. The egg used to establish the pregnancy is not supplied by the surrogate.
Whether your child will be born via gestational or traditional surrogacy, there are possible legal issues for both. Intended parents must plan for the birth of their child and protect themselves by putting the proper legal instruments in place. Making these early preparations can lead to fewer problems.
What is a Surrogacy Agreement?
A surrogacy agreement is a legally binding contract that is kept on file until it’s needed. They often include many of the following provisions:
- Exams & Testing: Any genetic testing, physicals, or scans should be included in the surrogacy agreement. If you are going through an agency, they will help ensure you have the necessary tests included in your agreement. If you don’t have an agency to help you, ask your healthcare specialists for guidance regarding which to include in your agreement for the record.
- Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): Any medical procedure concerning the handling and treatment of eggs and embryos should be covered under ART usage in a surrogacy agreement. The section should provide clarity and guidance on how ART will be used and how many attempts will be made over a specific time frame.
- Restrictions: During the pregnancy, if you want your surrogate to adhere to certain restrictions, like dietary limitations, alcohol and drug usage, and strenuous activities, it’s best to dictate those specifications in your agreement. It’s common for intended parents and surrogates to fall into a “we discussed it” paradigm, but that’s not advised. All restrictions should be outlined in the agreement.
- Custodial Rights: Issues of custody will need to be clarified regardless of your surrogacy situation. The agreement essentially will absolve the surrogate of any custodial rights to the child being carried.
- Financial Issues: Intended parents cover the costs of pregnancy, reimbursements for related expenses, and any other fees that may be incurred by the surrogate during the pregnancy.
Why Surrogacy Agreements are Important
Surrogacy law has been changing and growing as ART usage increases in popularity as families use this innovative technology to expand their families. These medical advancements continue to make the reality of parenthood possible for many people. When the law is changing to keep pace with the technology, it’s important to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible by outlining your preferences in a surrogacy agreement. Family planning through surrogacy is a detailed process requiring legal protections to protect the interest of all parties. Without a surrogacy agreement, potential parents can find they are left without answers or a plan for the inevitable birth of their child. When parents should be enjoying the birth of their child, they could be left litigating legal problems.
Warm and Compassionate Guides Through Surrogacy Experience
At Cecil & Cianci, PC, we work hard to help families navigate the ever-changing landscape of surrogacy. With many surrogacy laws and legal requirements changing across the country, it’s important to ensure you have legal help. Your surrogacy attorney will ensure you have everything you need to start your life with your newborn. Call us at (916) 675-3866 to schedule a consultation or for more information on how we could assist in your situation.