Are The Intended Parents Responsible For The Surrogate’s Legal Fees?
By agreement, the intended parents are responsible for the surrogate’s legal expenses in almost all cases, as well as for the expenses of her husband or partner, if she has one, because they also have to have representation. The intended parents don’t legally have to pay, but it’s advised that they do. The attorney for the intended parents cannot represent both sides. People can waive having an attorney, and they often do, especially when it’s a family member, such as a woman carrying for her sister. Repeat surrogates might also waive their right to an attorney if they’ve done this so many times that they don’t need anybody to review the contract (in their opinion).
At What Stage Of The Surrogacy Process Does An Attorney For The Parents Generally Get Involved?
In my practice, I get involved from the very beginning of the surrogacy process and handle everything. In fact, an important part of my service is finding the right surrogate for a family. Unlike other attorneys who might simply do a contract, I do everything from finding a surrogate to getting the birth certificates for the new babies at the very end.
It’s critical that an attorney be involved in the legal process of writing the contract and obtaining the court orders that give the parents their parental rights. My firm is full service. Everything that a so-called agency would do, my staff does under my supervision. I have a wonderful staff of paralegals that coordinates doctor visits and manages the escrow payments to the surrogate. We are involved from the very beginning, in every aspect of the process.
As The Attorney, Do You Perform Any Due Diligence To Ensure A Surrogate Is The Right Fit For Us?
Part of my service is to do background checks, criminal law enforcement background checks, and child abuse background checks. We do obtain the medical records of the surrogate, and I review them, even though I am not a doctor, just to see if there is anything that jumps out at me (what medications is she taking? has she had complications in a pregnancy? etc.). We do as thorough as possible of an investigation into the background of not only the surrogate, but her partner too.
Looking into the partner is equally as important. I recall a case where someone had already matched themselves on the internet by the time they came to me, but they had not bothered to look into the husband’s background. He had an arrest record as long as your arm, plus Hepatitis C. Unfortunately, they were already well into the process. That’s why, again, it’s so important to have an attorney such as myself with experience to ask those questions and investigate everything and everybody involved. We want to make sure there is a stable home environment where this little embryo, fetus, and child is going to grow in the surrogate’s womb.
Can A Same-Sex Couple Use A Surrogate In Florida? Must They Be Married?
A same-sex couple can utilize a surrogate in Florida. In order to get both names on the birth certificate, they have to be married; that’s the same for couples who are not the same sex. If they are not married, one party can do it, and then the second party can do a second parent adoption after the birth. We often have couples come to us who have been together for 18 years but have never been married. To ensure a simpler process in terms of getting both names on the birth certificate, we’ve had a lot of weddings in our office.
Surrogacy is an option here for same-sex couples, opposite-sex couples, and single parents. I have a lot of single people who do this process. Maybe it’s a single man who is 50 and hasn’t met Mrs. Right. Some very financially successful clients are worried that if they marry but then divorce, their partner will take all of their money and the child. Whatever the reason, I have a lot of single men who are commissioning a surrogate to carry for them. They choose an egg donor for the eggs and have a child on their own, telling themselves, “In the future, if I meet the right woman, that’s great, but nobody will ever take my child from me.” I have that situation quite often.
Can A Single Person Use A Surrogate With A Donor’s Sperm In Florida?
A single person, whether it’s a woman or a man, can do a surrogacy in Florida. We do utilize a statute called the pre-planned adoption statute, even though it’s not an adoption, and we have certain contracts that are signed with the donors. The donor might be a friend, maybe a person who will play a part in the life of the child.
I often have single men who are approaching 50 or so use surrogates; they really want to be a dad but don’t want to be running around the T-ball diamond when they are 70 or 80 years old. They want to get started now so that they can enjoy their child.
I also have single women who have been so busy getting an education or climbing the corporate ladder that they didn’t get around to having children yet. Some women are married and didn’t think they wanted children, and it’s not until they’re in their early 40s that they started saying, “Okay, now I’m going to have a child.” Unfortunately, our ovaries and our eggs age much more rapidly than we realize; you can look physically fit, but your fertility rate goes down rapidly after 35. That means you’re trying to have a child at 42 but can’t. For these women, they might get an egg donor and a sperm donor and carry themselves because their uterus can still potentially be used until they are 50. If there is an issue with that, they’ll use an egg donor and a sperm donor and hire a surrogate to carry for them. So, we have many single people doing this.
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