What to know about surrogacy contracts
Surrogacy contracts, also known as assisted reproductive agreements, are written agreements between the surrogate and intended parents. Aside from a having a healthy pregnancy and delivery, these contracts are one of the most important parts of the surrogacy process.
Each agreement varies based on the state where the surrogate mother resides. The contract should have a description of all of the current laws in regards to the state. This includes the parentage rights of the intended parents, the costs of surrogacy, surrogate compensation, and the protection for the different potential outcomes. The contract states the rights and obligations of both parties including the parental rights of the intended parents. A lawyer is assigned to each surrogate's case by the surrogacy agency, if going through an Agency.
California surrogacy contract
California is considered the most surrogacy-friendly state. California law allows surrogacy contracts regardless of the marital status and sexual orientation of the intended parents. The state also allows surrogacy contracts for both altruistic and commercial surrogacy.
In order for this contract to be legal, the intended parents and surrogate must be represented by represented by separate independent licensed attorneys of their choosing and be witnessed and notarized under the governing laws of the state. Embryo transfer and injectable medication in preparation for embryo transfer cannot commence until the agreement has been fully executed
What the surrogacy contract entails
The contract guides the entire surrogacy journey, clearly outlining each party’s rights, roles and responsibilities before, during and after the pregnancy. Each Surrogacy contract should include the below:
- The intent, rights, and obligations of the intended parents and Surrogate.
- Agreement on the surrogate’s health conduct (e.g. diet, travel, dangerous activities).
- Specification of the intended parents’ level of involvement in medical decisions.
- What happens during potential risks, liabilities, and conflicts.
- Insurance information for everyone involved including the child.
- Trust or escrow account for compensation/reimbursements to the surrogate.
- Communication guidelines for all parties during pregnancy.
Every case is unique, it is difficult to state the length of each surrogacy journey. But in general, it is safe to say that the surrogacy process can roughly take about 15 to 18 months to complete, from match to delivery.
Lastly, not all things are easy to discuss; however, they should be mentioned in the contract, this includes things such as selective reduction and termination. The contract should also outline what happens in the events such as the death of an intended parent or a surrogate being placed on life support. These need to be discussed and written up before the surrogate becomes pregnant so that everyone agrees to it ahead of time. The contract should outline all the actions to be taken in these events.