What Rights Do Surrogates Have?
Surrogacy has become a common way of starting a family for individuals and couples incapable of having a biological child on their own. Naturally, both intended parents and surrogates want to have all the information necessary before embarking on the surrogacy journey — and this means being aware of the legalities.
Surrogacy laws are constantly evolving and vary from state to state. They can also differ regarding a state, county, or judge’s view on LBGTQ parents and gestational versus traditional surrogacy. In some states, intended parent parental rights in a surrogacy journey are not guaranteed.
Traditional vs. gestational surrogacy
To understand surrogate rights, it’s important to first comprehend the different types of surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is infrequently practiced, and in many states, it’s illegal. In traditional surrogacy, a surrogate uses her own egg, making her biologically related to the child. For states where traditional surrogacy is legal, the traditional surrogate gives her consent post delivery because she is the biological birth mother. Click on a state on our U.S. Surrogacy Map, then scroll to the bottom to learn more about traditional surrogacy.
Gestational surrogacy is more common and the chosen route for most intended parents. With a proper legal contract in place to protect both the surrogate and the intended parents, gestational surrogacy arrangements can be safe and ethical. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate undergoes in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and carries a child genetically related to an egg donor or the intended mother.
Surrogates are entitled to rights and protections, some of which include:
- The right to decide what kind of intended parents she wants to be matched with.
- The right to decide how many embryos are transferred.
- The right to have her partner or close family member attend the embryo transfer as her support person.
- The right to have health insurance coverage during the surrogate pregnancy.
- The right to receive psychological counseling during the pregnancy and for a couple months after delivery.
- The right to select her surrogacy attorney to represent her and her family.
- The right to receive compensation or reimbursements agreed upon in the legal surrogacy agreement.
- The right to have an independent escrow agency hold her compensation, fees, and reimbursements.
- The right to information from the IVF Clinic about any medical procedure and the potential side effects.
- The right to decide whether she will pump post delivery and the right to associated stipends.
- The right to a life insurance policy should anything happen to her.
- The right to work during the pregnancy and receive actual incurred lost wages throughout the journey.
- The right to choose her medical team (so long as the providers are accepting of the intended parents)
Can surrogates decide to keep the baby?
A gestational surrogate does not have parental rights to the baby, as laid out in the surrogacy contract. A gestational surrogate is also not biologically related to the baby.
A surrogacy contract will protect the surrogate from any medical or legal responsibility for the child or children. It’s important to note that a surrogate’s goal aligns with that of the intended parent — to help build someone else’s family.
Surrogate relationships: Do “surrogate mothers” get attached to the child?
A “surrogate mother’s” potential to get attached to the child is less likely for those involved in a gestational surrogacy journey — when the surrogate does not have a genetic link to the child. The thing to remember with gestational surrogacy is that it isn’t about “giving up” a child, it’s about having the baby be with its parents. Taking the time to talk to friends and family members about this part of the journey is an important way to confirm that a surrogacy journey is right for you.
It would seem that gestational surrogates would form a relationship with the child and become attached, considering pregnancy is an incredibly emotional process. However, women choose from the beginning to become surrogates to help someone else have the kind of family they already have — not have another baby of their own. In fact, a lot of surrogates become more attached to the intended parents during the journey than the intended parents’ baby. Surrogates, their families, and intended parents can develop close bonds over the course of a surrogacy journey!
Contact Creative Family Connections today
If you still have questions about a surrogate’s rights during a journey and how Creative Family Connections can help, reach out to us today. We are passionate about helping gestational surrogates and intended parents give and receive the most incredible gift of family.
If you are interested in beginning the gestational surrogacy journey with CFC, feel free to complete our online surrogacy form today.