I do my best to make sure you do not need to worry about the legal process, and that the end result is what you were hoping for.
If you are seeking the services of a matching agency or donor facility, they will likely ask you to sign a contract with them to pay for the services of finding a surrogate/carrier, an egg donor, a sperm donor or an embryo donor. These agencies often times have their own contracts that the require you sign prior to utilizing their services. You need an attorney to review a contract with a surrogacy agency or a matching agency or an egg donation or embryo donation agency. Be sure that the contract is appropriate and protects your rights, without being one-sided for the agency.
Once you have obtained your egg donor, sperm donor, embryo donor or surrogate, you need an attorney to draft a contract between the intended parents and the surrogate or intended parents and egg/embryo donors. Do not rely on contracts you find “on-line”. I am happy to draft a contract between any parties to the agreement to be sure that all rights are protected.
When the contact is complete, I will provide clearance letters to your physicians office. I will also review insurance policies – it is important to be sure there are no surrogacy exclusions to a surrogate pregnancy, and if there are, to be sure to have a supplemental policy in place prior to beginning the process.
If a pregnancy occurs as the result of a surrogacy contract, it is never too early to begin the legal paperwork to assure all rights of all parties are protected and the baby/babies are sent home with the “parents”. I advise clients to contact me after the first trimester to begin the legal process. Be aware that the legal procedure varies from county to county, so it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney to make sure the county’s requirements are being met.
I will draft the documents for the court, as well as affidavits for the parties and physician to sign. When everything is complete, I will file the documents with the court as soon as permitted. The next step for the client is to relax, enjoy the pregnancy and anticipation, and await the arrival of the baby(ies).
When the baby is born you will contact me so that I can obtain the orders from the court. In most counties the order is obtained the same day if it is a business day, or the following Monday or non-holiday. Some jurisdictions do require that you appear for a hearing, but that occurs soon enough after birth so as to assure that the proper names are on the birth certificate from the beginning. I will then bring to the order to the hospital and meet with the records clerk, head nurse, and legal division to be sure that the proper documentation is generated from the hospital. I also meet with the parties to be sure they have a copy of the legal documents so that there is no question as to who should be named the parent of the child.
If the parents are international clients and require passports for travel out of the country with the baby, I will assist in obtaining the proper documentation on an expedited basis.