A "surrogate" is a woman who bears a child or children on behalf of other parents. There are two typical surrogate situations: artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. There are often numerous concerns both ethically and legally regarding surrogate arrangements.
Typical Surrogate Agreements
Typical surrogate agreements cover a wide variety of topics. The most basic agreements cover issues such as:
- Parents' right to attend surrogate's medical exams as well as review the medical records of the surrogate
- Testing of all parties for sexually transmitted diseases
- Evaluation of the surrogate mother's genetic history
- The signing of an anti-disclosure statement to prevent the surrogacy from being made public
- Psychological counseling for all parties involved
- A determination of parental rights
- Whether any compensation is to be made
- Termination of the agreement
Compensation of Surrogates
There is great debate as to whether surrogates should be granted compensation for their childbearing services. Many states are trying to avoid "baby selling," and thus, many forms of surrogacy are a felony and punishable by significant fines and imprisonment. If you are contemplating a surrogacy arrangement, it would be wise to consult with an attorney first.
Are Contracts Necessary for Surrogacy Agreements?
If you are entering a surrogacy agreement, a formal surrogacy contract is essential to the preservation of your rights as a parent. Some states require that there be a written contract for a surrogacy arrangement to be legal. Although contracts serve as strong evidence of an agreement, there is no guarantee that a contract will be upheld in court. A court will not hesitate to modify a contract if it is in the best interests of a child.
Do I Need an Attorney Experienced with Surrogate Relationships?
If you are contemplating a surrogacy arrangement, it would be wise to consult with a family lawyer. The controversial nature of surrogacy agreements has led to many conflicting viewpoints amongst the states. Speaking with the proper lawyer will help you understand your rights and obligations, and protect your interests.