Terms Of A Surrogacy Agreement
The contract I provide clients covers what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior. The surrogate agrees to share information about the pregnancy. She also agrees to not engage in reckless, irresponsible, or contra-indicated activities, such as riding a horse, getting her nails done with formaldehyde, coloring her hair, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, visiting high crime areas, or not evacuating during a hurricane. If she meets someone while pregnant, perhaps a new boyfriend, they will have a screening before they are sexually active since their private actions could potentially expose the baby to infection. She agrees to a lot of things in the contract.
Once the contract is signed and pregnancy established, there is basically no backing out of the agreement. The contract spells out when there can be a legitimate termination, but it can’t just be from either side that you don’t want to do it anymore. It costs a lot of money even to screen a surrogate. The contract indicates the surrogate will make three attempts, typically over one year.
You don’t want to spend $10,000 screening a surrogate, and after one attempt, she tries to back out of the agreement. So, that would be a breach to quit. At the same time, you don’t really want to force somebody to go through with surrogacy if they don’t want to. If the surrogate doesn’t make the two additional attempts, she must pay the intended parents back all the money paid to screen her.
There have been cases where the intended couple has split up, and the husband claims he never wanted to go through the process in the first place, saying, “I’m not paying child support.” Yes, he is paying child support. Courts have ruled that the intended parents have commissioned the surrogate to have this baby, and they are responsible for it when it is born.
For the most part, the agreement ends after the birth, when all parties sign all the required paperwork and the surrogate has been compensated for her time. Some features of the contract continue into perpetuity – meaning forever. Conditions that continue may include the surrogate will have no contact with the child without permission.
The law says surrogate mothers cannot be paid a fee for carrying the child. They can only be paid reasonable living expenses and compensation for the convenience of the pregnancy. The overall cost range is broad and varies depending on the situation, such as a first-time or repeat surrogate.
In my practice, the base minimum I see is $35,000 to $65,000. If the surrogate has done this before, she is often compensated at a higher base. Some people want someone who has been a surrogate before because they know she is familiar with the process. Her living expenses may be more because this will impact her life for at least a year. Some people think this is a lot of money, but if you calculate something that must be done 24/7 for ten months, those are actually pretty low wages.
Typically, in my practice, a surrogate will get a $2,500 to $3,000 retainer to go through the IVF. Once a heartbeat is established, usually four weeks after transfer, I, acting as escrow agent, will begin paying her monthly. The sum of that check increases as she gets further along in the pregnancy. It might start as $1,000 per month upon confirmation of pregnancy, going up to $1,500 a month at 12 weeks, $2,000 a month at 16 weeks, etc., throughout the pregnancy.
For more information on the Rights of the Intended Parents in a Surrogacy, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (561) 330-6700 today.