Surrogacy is an exciting journey. Once you have decided to pursue a full surrogacy journey with surrogate matching, journey support, and legal support, you may be eager to begin this long-awaited experience. However, it’s important to understand the legal complexities of surrogacy before jumping in. There are many laws and processes you should be aware of — A legal team who understands the intricacies of surrogacy law will be an invaluable asset.
At Creative Family Connections, we offer all-inclusive journey support and legal services when we match you to a surrogate candidate. We also offer à la carte services if you bring your own surrogate to us. In addition to matching intended parents with their ideal surrogate after our in-depth pre-screening process, we also offer legal expertise to ensure you, your family, and your surrogate are legally protected.
If you are pursuing an independent or “indie” journey without the use of an agency’s surrogate matching program and full support services, we can assist as well. We offer non-match legal services for the contract and parentage process, as well as independent journey legal support if you already have a potential surrogate candidate in mind, like a close family member or mutual friend.
Surrogacy is still a relatively new area of the law. Some states are enacting statutes. Others are leaving it to courts to make the law. Unless a case is contested, those courts are typically family law courts, and the judges do not publish opinions that can be researched. The facts of every case can vary, as medical technology progresses. The surrogate may be carrying the parents’ genetic child. Or, a donor may be used, particularly if the parents are LGBTQ. In some cases, neither parent may be genetically related to the embryo. This can effect the laws that govern the embryo. An experienced surrogacy lawyer, like the lawyers at Creative Family Connections, have experience handling the complex legal issues involved in this newer area of the law and, specifically, the particular legal nuances that can occur depending on facts such as the genetic relationship of the embryo to the intended parents. An experienced surrogacy lawyer will know what steps to take to maximize the intended parents’ parentage rights. Creative Family Connections will advise that surrogacy matches occur only when the match makes sense from a legal perspective. A legally sound surrogate match involves many factors, including the residences of both intended parents and surrogate, and sometimes the relationship status of both parties as well. Ensuring a legal and ethical match benefits both the parents and the surrogate.
Surrogacy laws can vary depending on what state you’re in. Therefore, a thorough understanding of surrogacy law in a particular jurisdiction is essential. Your surrogacy lawyer takes on this burden, helping you navigate your specific circumstances involved in this process.
Surrogacy legal support involves three main processes — the surrogacy contract, the pre or post birth parentage order, and, for some intended parents, adoption and other post-birth legal issues.
Before the embryo is transferred, intended parents and prospective surrogates work with their attorneys to draft a surrogacy contract. This legal document lays out the surrogate’s compensation. It also outlines basic responsibilities and social agreements. These could include:
Working with an experienced legal team like CFC ensures the surrogacy contract will cover every possible outcome.
A pre-birth or post-birth parentage order is an essential aspect of surrogacy law. It establishes the intended parents as the baby’s legal parents.
In surrogacy-friendly states, you can work with our team to establish the appropriate process for the parentage documents, thus ensuring the legal process determining you as the legal parents is as smooth as possible. This way, your baby will be discharged from the hospital or birthing center into your arms. Learn more about our birth plan process, which includes submitting important parentage documents to the hospital or birthing center.
A pre or post-birth parentage order may differ depending on your state’s surrogacy laws and where your surrogate will give birth. However, most states require the following:
After a parentage order is successfully filed, only a couple extra items will be needed to finalize the surrogacy journey. This includes surrogate documents signed by the surrogate and their partner recognizing that they are not the child’s legal parents and a document signed by the intended parents saying they accept full custody of the baby.
In some surrogacy journeys, only one parent or no parent is biologically related to the child. In these cases, we help navigate the appropriate legal steps depending on your individual case. Sometimes the non-biological parent will need to adopt the child via a second parent adoption, giving them full legal parental rights. At the end of the day, ensuring you are the legal parent to your child is an extremely important process with various factors to consider. Our experience and ‘creative’ legal team enable us to best support you during this legal aspect of surrogacy.
We are honored to work with you as you grow your family. You can feel confident that your surrogacy journey will be secure, joyful, and legally sound at every step. Let us help you navigate the legal aspects of your journey.