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Understanding Surrogacy Contracts

Surrogacy Contract Overview

A surrogacy agreement is an essential part of your journey as a surrogate. Whether you decide to go independent or work with an agency, you need to avoid working with anyone who is okay working without one. The main objective of a surrogacy agreement is to protect all the parties involved equally. In some states it is illegal to proceed without a contract. It is also crucial to note that many IVF clinics won’t begin working with intended parents or a surrogate without an agreement. When becoming a surrogate, it is essential for surrogates to understand their surrogacy contracts before proceeding with the journey.

We will discuss the overall purpose of surrogacy contracts, aspects an agreement should or should not contain and the process of acquiring one.

Who Do Surrogacy Contracts Do?

Surrogacy contracts should do two primary things:

  • Establish behavioral expectations before, during, and after the pregnancy
  • Establish requirements for costs, compensation, and parentage

These points are broad, and your agreement will incorporate numerous little things too. Essential aspects of the contract include the number of live embryos to transfer, planned procedures in case of a needed or desired reduction or termination, plans for the birth, and other expectations.

The actual contract is lengthy, generally more than 40 pages long. You will likely start the contracting stage once you have been formally matched. The whole procedure takes close to a month. At RSMC, we provide both the intended parents and the surrogates separate legal representation to help them understand the terms of the agreement as they proceed with independent reviews of the contract.

What to Look for in a Surrogacy Contract

Surrogacy contracts will look different based on circumstances, each parties’ individual needs and country/ or state surrogacy laws.

Generally, the surrogacy contract should have the following elements:

  • How many embryos should the surrogate carry? (Often single embryo transfers are recommended)
  • Who becomes the new guardians of the baby in the event of injury or possibly death of the intended parents
  • The liability and risks associated with the pregnancy
  • Who has desired parentage of the child upon birth?
  • What should happen to the fetus if the surrogate needs to be placed on life support?
  • Compensation and financial responsibility for medical bills incurred as a direct result of the pregnancy.
  • Who will be available at birth and prenatal appointments?
  • Planned procedures on sensitive issues like termination and selective reduction if that can’t be avoided.
  • The surrogate’s responsibilities to take care of the baby and her health throughout the pregnancy, typically including an agreement to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs during the pregnancy.
  • Travel limitations.

These are only a few of the necessary inclusions that should be a part of any surrogacy agreement. Other personalized inclusions can be included In the past, we have found preferences for an organic food-only diet during the pregnancy as well as the agreement that the surrogates do not travel by herself in two weeks prior to her due date. These vary depending on the wants and needs of both the surrogates and the intended parents.

These contracts can, and should, be catered to you.  If something is important to you, it should be included in your agreement.

What Contracts Should Not Include

Even though an agreement can incorporate many customized items, there are a few things that you likely would not want to have included in your agreement.  You’ll need to avoid things that are close to home or that can’t be enforced. The contract isn’t a place for specialized considerations that cannot be changed because of extenuating circumstances. Your lawyer should be able to advise you on what sorts of demands are not suitable for the agreement.

Facilitating the Contract

It is important to not only work with a lawyer for the drafting of your agreement, but to work with someone who specializes in fertility and reproductive law. The state, rather than the federal government, oversees reproductive law. Therefore, requirements will differ, some of the time, from state to state. Also, laws are constantly changing. It is essential to work with somebody who is well-versed in the laws of your state and of the state in which your intended parents lives as well as concentrates on reproductive law. This means that these lawyers are very aware of the laws they must follow, when these laws change and have substantial court involvement with contracts that they have written before.

Understanding the Contract

An essential task during the surrogacy journey is to read every page of your contract before signing it and ask any questions you may have. This might be the first extensive agreement you’ve signed in your life, so it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed. Ask questions to ensure your concerns are met and understood.  

Respective attorneys will set aside time to review the agreement. They set up time to speak with their client, either the surrogate or the intended parents. During this time, the lawyer will review the agreement with you line by line. This ensures you understand and consent to everything lined out in the agreement. On the off chance that either party has an issue with content in the agreement, this is the time to discuss and ask for changes to be made.

Pushing Ahead

It is important to realize that there is no circumstance in which you don’t need legal framework for your surrogacy journey. This ensures that both parties’ interests are protected and is a step that should not be skipped or taken lightly. Regardless of whether you are working through a surrogacy agency, taking time to find legal representation that specializes in reproductive law is a crucial first step in your journey.

Respective attorneys will set aside time to review the agreement. They set up time to speak with their client, either the surrogate or the intended parents. During this time, the lawyer will review the agreement with you line by line. This ensures you understand and consent to everything lined out in the agreement. On the off chance that either party has an issue with content in the agreement, this is the time to discuss and ask for changes to be made.

Become a Surrogate

Below you will find the application link to become a surrogate with Reproductive Sciences Medical Center. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact us at family@fertile.com or at 858-342-3327.

Become a Surrogate
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2019-03-11T13:01:34+00:00