Getting advice about surrogacy regulations before entering into any surrogacy arrangement will ensure that all parties involved understand matters in their legal context and know what they are committing to.
The surrogacy journey can be exciting for both surrogates and intended parents. Once you have found a match, you want to start the embryo transfer and pregnancy! However, before you reach that stage of the surrogacy journey, there are some legal factors you need to address including the surrogacy contract.
Indeed, consulting an experienced surrogacy attorney should be one of the first steps of every surrogacy journey. In fact, before you start looking for a match, you should be aware of all relevant surrogacy regulations.
There are many moving parts in the surrogacy process, and misinformation or following advice not adjusted to your individual situation could cause problems down the line.
A surrogacy attorney will support you in different ways during the journey. No matter whether you are a prospective parent or potential surrogate, a skilled legal professional will be an essential part of your team.
Let’s look at five reasons why it is important to have legal representation for your surrogacy journey.
1. Streamline the surrogacy process
Surrogacy can be a roller coaster ride full of emotions, complexities, and challenges. Therefore, having legal advice from the beginning can ease the stress and make the process smoother.
Your attorney (who should specialize in third-party reproduction) won’t just explain how surrogacy laws will impact you, they will ensure that you stick to the necessary protocols. Also, your attorney will help you complete the necessary paperwork and make sure that your medical professionals comply with any legal requirements. Your attorney will also inform you of any risks involved, which is especially important for first-time intended parents and surrogates.
2. Understand the local surrogacy laws and regulations
Surrogacy regulations vary widely from country to country, and even from state to state. Some regions require less than others and/or have clear laws governing surrogacy. The opposite is also true. In some regions, regulation is non-existent, and there are few laws governing surrogacy or other fertility treatments.
Also, surrogacy regulations may vary according to your personal circumstances (i.e., married or single; heterosexual or same-sex couple, etc.) and the form of surrogacy you will pursue (i.e., traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy).
In addition, reproductive techniques are continuously evolving as well as people’s acceptance of surrogacy as a family-building alternative. This means that fertility and assisted reproductive regulations will have to adapt to meet these changes. Your lawyer, too, will have to stay abreast of regulations that could affect your journey.
3. Draft the surrogacy agreement
A surrogacy agreement is meant to clearly state the rights and responsibilities of the intended parents and surrogate. Also, your views on sensitive topics like termination or compensation will be included.
The relationship between intended parent and surrogate, as well as their goals and expectations, will be different for each match. Your surrogacy attorney will help you with all legal matters and help you manage your expectations (i.e., what to expect vs what not to expect).
Finally, remember that each party will need independent representation for this part of the legal process
4. Protect your rights and interest
Nothing is more important than the protection and security of you and your family. Navigating this challenging months-long process can be emotionally demanding, which is why it’s important to have the guidance of a surrogacy attorney. Also, an experienced lawyer will be able to detect potential risks and offer solutions. All of this will go a long way to protecting you and making the process as smooth as possible.
5. Establish parental rights for intended parents
An experienced surrogacy attorney will know which jurisdictions are most favorable for establishing the legal parentage of intended parents. The goal is to protect the intended parents’ rights from the beginning of the journey.
Legal parentage regulations vary by country, state, and region. In some places, pre-birth orders will be available, while in others you will need to follow post-birth orders or go through adoption procedures.
The legal surrogacy process varies greatly, so the best thing prospective parents and surrogates can do to legally protect themselves is to obtain the guidance of a reputable lawyer who is acquainted with the requisite surrogacy laws.
This guest post was written by MySurrogateMom, the first independent surrogacy community in the US and Canada dedicated to connecting intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors. MySurrogateMom offers an unparalleled degree of information and support to help members explore all their surrogacy options. Their aim is to simplify what can be a challenging journey to parenthood.