As a gestational surrogate, your surrogacy contract is the most important part of the legal process. So it pays to get it right! This legal document underpins the entire journey, including the rights of everyone involved.
Here’s a quick outline of why it’s so important to have a well-written contract and a good attorney to assist you.
What is a surrogacy contract?
The surrogacy contract is a binding written agreement between the surrogate and the Intended Parents.
It addresses everybody involved in the arrangement and each party’s individual rights. It also establishes that the Intended Parents will become the legal parents of the child produced by the gestational carrier and that the surrogate will have no legal ties or obligations to the child after the birth.
A well-written gestational surrogacy contract can be a guide for both parties so that they’re on equal footing and able to ensure that everything will go as smoothly as possible.
Why do you need a surrogacy contract?
A gestational surrogacy contract can help prevent disputes between all parties throughout the journey by being clear about goals, responsibilities, and milestones.
The contract protects you legally, financially, and emotionally. It outlines your medical procedures, absolves you of post-birth rights and responsibilities, and ensures you will be fairly compensated. It also protects the rights of the IPs and advocates the interests of all involved parties.
Each surrogacy arrangement is tailored to the specific circumstances of you and your IPs, and the contract must reflect this. It’s like a roadmap for your journey and a way of accounting for every possible hurdle and outcome. It covers the expectations of everyone involved and any possible risks or liabilities associated with the surrogacy process. This is all to protect you from potential complications.
Important information to include in your contract
These are just a few of the many things that your contract should address:
The contract will state your surrogate compensation (as legally negotiated) and all your pregnancy-related costs, such as medical expenses, travel, and accommodation. Pregnancy-related costs will be paid by the intended parents.
Risks and liabilities
All possible medical risks that could arise from fertility treatment must be outlined, along with standard health risks associated with pregnancy. It’s important that both you and your IPs understand these and are aware of every possible complication.
As the carrier of their future child, your IPs will have certain expectations of you and how you’ll maintain your health. It’s crucial that you follow certain lifestyle protocols during the pregnancy to ensure the well-being of the child, such as abstaining from drugs and alcohol. These expectations will be noted in the contract.
The kind of relationship you’ll have with your IPs should be laid out, including the level of contact with one another and which doctor’s appointments the IPs will attend with you. It’s also important to state how the birth will proceed and who will be present.
Before your fertility treatment begins, you and your IPs will need to agree on what will happen if the pregnancy doesn’t go to plan. This means discussing issues such as selective termination. If anything happens that causes complications with the pregnancy, it is critical for both parties to have solid legal protection.
The parentage processes will take place before and after the baby is born and will legally establish each party’s legal rights and responsibilities. This process will vary by state but should be outlined in your agreement.
Common challenges in surrogacy contracts
Although every measure will be taken to ensure the surrogacy process goes smoothly, issues can arise if a surrogacy contract isn’t written correctly.
For a surrogate, some of the most common challenges include the calculations for lost wages, childcare, mileage, hotel charges, and airfares.
Besides your base compensation, be sure that the contract accounts for all other expenses during the journey, such as medications, prenatal vitamins, insurance fees, co-pays, postage, and notary fees. It should also state the specific dates for payments and insurance coverage, as well as who will be accompanying you throughout the journey (midwife, doula, or other support).
The importance of a good attorney
Surrogacy is an emotionally demanding journey, and the legal side of things can add to the stress. That’s why the right attorney is crucial.
Your attorney will guide you through the legal maze and ensure you are protected at every step. They will draft your surrogacy contract and send it to be approved by the intended parents and their attorney. Your attorney will also take care of any amendments until each party is satisfied and signs the contract to make it legally binding.
Most importantly, your attorney is there to ensure that your legal interests are protected, and all legalities are handled correctly – no matter what happens.
Retaining the services of a reputable ART attorney and drafting a well-written gestational surrogacy contract can provide peace of mind for all parties involved. The agreement can protect the relationship between the surrogate and the intended parents as well as offer clear expectations for how the surrogate will be compensated. By creating a written contract, both parties are more aware of what is expected, and each party has an opportunity to make their desires known in detail.
If you’re thinking about becoming a surrogate and you still have questions about the legal process, get in touch with the team at Family Source Consultants. We are happy to refer you to an attorney in your area who is familiar with gestational surrogacy agreements.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Please retain the services of a reputable ART attorney familiar with the laws in your state for assistance in drafting your gestational surrogacy agreement.