Surrogacy Process – Start To Finish
It’s not required, but recommended, that the intended parents and surrogate mothers have their own legal representation. Each parent doesn’t need an attorney when they are a couple. The intending parents, as a couple, have me, and we recommend an attorney outside of my firm represent the surrogate.
The attorney who represents the intended parents cannot also represent the surrogate. The surrogate does have the option of not having an attorney. Like in some cases, when the intended parents know the surrogate, such as a sister or friend, they do not anticipate any kind of conflict of interest. It is right in the contract that it is recommended and I can’t advise her on it. However, she can waive having an attorney.
Once the couple has chosen their surrogate and she has been medically approved, I draw up the surrogacy contract between the intended family and the surrogate. If the surrogate is married, the spouse must also sign the contract. The agreement must be executed before starting any medication in the in-vitro cycle process.
This contract can be amended later, as long as it’s in writing. Sometimes we have couples who have lived together for years but never married. They want to have a baby now, and they don’t want to go through a second or stepparent adoption. We will start out with one intended parent on the contract, and when they get married, we amend the agreement to add the second person.
Another example is a surrogate who ends up with a very complicated pregnancy and needs more money for childcare for her own children. If the parties mutually agree, we do an amendment. Or, if the surrogate doesn’t get pregnant in a year, we can modify the contract to do an extension.
Surrogate And Intended Family Rights And Contact
Intended families and surrogates have a lot of interaction. Most of my surrogates are in Florida, but I have clients worldwide. Everybody communicates at least once a week.
If they live close by, they’ll go to doctor’s visits. If they live out of town, often they attend appointments over the phone or Facetime. When I have clients out of the country, often they will come for the big ultrasound at 20 weeks.
Most surrogates are open to whatever interaction the family wants somewhat more than others.
The contract is executed to protect the rights of the intended family and the surrogate. Although the surrogate agrees for the intended family to know all about her and her medical history, she still has a right to privacy. If she is getting an examination and asks them to leave the room, they have to go. The one legal right the surrogate doesn’t have is to keep the child when it is born.
The intended family has the right to get their child and the right to enforce the contract if the surrogate is not following the agreement. If she doesn’t go to the doctor, doesn’t eat well, or gets a DUI, they can go to arbitration, mediation, or court to require her to abide by the contract. The intended family also has an obligation to compensate the surrogate and fulfill the other provisions as required by the contract.
Intended Family Liability
My surrogacy contract addresses the inherent risks that could occur with pregnancy, both medically and psychologically. Thankfully, we have never had a surrogate suffer because of a pregnancy. But the contract does address the possibilities, and she assumes the risk.
I do provide in my contracts that, if needed, the intended parents will pay for counseling and therapy for up to eight weeks after the delivery. I try not to select women who express any reservations or hesitation. If they say something like, “I know it will be really hard at the end, but I think I can do it,” I tell them they are not the right candidate.
As the surrogate, you must go in from the beginning knowing you are the incubator. You have to have a clinical approach. If you think you will get attached or need counseling to get through this, then I don’t believe that you are a good candidate.
For more information on Surrogacy Agencies and Attorneys in Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (561) 330-6700 today.