Surrogacy is an amazing feat of modern medicine, and it has given many couples the ability to expand their families in a way that was before its creation an impossibility. While surrogacy has many positives, it can still be a source of stress and frustration. If your relationship is already worn and fragile from trying to conceive and grow your family, surrogacy can further strain it. Occasionally, surrogacy and divorce end up overlapping, which creates a difficult path forward for all parties. These situations are stressful for surrogates and estranged couples who happen to find themselves living through it.
The Importance of the Surrogacy Agreement
For an example of just how difficult surrogacy can be during divorce, you can look to the many celebrity legal issues on the topic. Many of the issues that become the central matter involve custodial issues and financial concerns about the child born into separate households instead of one. Even if your marriage is stable and you’re happy, it’s important to include contingencies in your surrogacy agreement for what will happen in the event of divorce mid-pregnancy.
A surrogacy agreement typically includes the following:
- Financial Issues: This will cover surrogate compensation and additional compensation for procedures beyond the pregnancy.
- Situational Concerns: What happens in unforeseen circumstances? If the surrogate becomes pregnant with multiples? If the surrogate is confined to bed rest? Covid concerns at the medical facility?
- Risks and Liabilities: Pregnancy is a medical procedure. It’s safer than ever in modern times, but there are risks to the surrogate. What happens if any of these issues arise?
- Surrogate’s Obligations: The surrogate has a responsibility to live her life and carry herself in a way that will provide the intended parents with a healthy baby
- Sensitive Issues: Issues like selective reduction, termination, advance directives, divorce and separation, intended parent death or inability to assume custody, and healthcare choices for the baby and the surrogate would fall into this section
- Delivery: Who will be in the delivery room? How many people?
How Surrogacy Can be Challenging During a Divorce
There isn’t a one size fits all solution for what to do in the case of a mid-surrogacy divorce. For couples already pregnant, the pregnancy will continue, and the surrogacy agreement will drive the process going forward. For couples not yet pregnant but matched with a surrogate, you and your estranged spouse will have the opportunity to address the new developments in your situation and decide if now is the time to continue. Couples should assess the reality of their divorce proceedings and determine if their split is amicable or contentious. Surrogacy is an involved process that requires considerable attention and emotional involvement. Couples in the thick of divorce may not handle the strains and stress of divorce while also working to support a surrogate.
Warm and Compassionate Guides Through Surrogacy Experience
At Cecil & Cianci, PC, our attorneys can help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of surrogacy. With the requirements and legal status changing across the country, you need to ensure you have legal representation. Your attorney can help you develop a surrogacy agreement that meets all your needs. Call us at (916) 675-3866 to schedule a consultation or for more information on how we could assist in your situation.