Before beginning your surrogacy journey, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the legal processes in your area that are involved before and after birth to ensure smooth sailing for you and your new family. That’s where Newborn Advantage comes in. Mindy and her team can help you every step of the way, including the legal affairs.
Step 1: Surrogacy Contract
The first legal step that is required on the road to surrogacy is a surrogacy contract, which is the agreement between you, the intended parent(s), and your chosen surrogate. The surrogacy contract is a collaborative effort drawn up by both parties’ attorneys, which satisfies the needs of the surrogate mother, the intended parent(s), and the child. The contract needs to be completed and signed before any medications are started for embryo transfer. The agreement should cover finances, including the surrogate’s base compensation, as well as additional compensation the surrogate may receive for invasive procedures, carrying multiples, going on medically indicated bedrest, pumping breast milk etc.. The agreement also outlines, risks and liability associated with the pregnancy, the surrogate’s health and her responsibilities to take care of herself and the baby throughout her pregnancy, an agreement on sensitive issues such as selective reduction and termination, if that should become necessary, and who will be present at prenatal appointments and birth.
Step 2: The Pre-Birth OrderThe next legal obstacle to tackle is the pre-birth order, which is the document that establishes the intended parents as the baby’s legal parents, and expedites the post-birth legal process. Acquiring your pre-birth order requires some hefty paperwork such as an affidavit from your physician saying that the embryos were in fact transferred to the surrogate, any social documents prepared for the surrogacy, including evaluations of the intended parents and the surrogate, and a document signed by surrogate and her partner stating they intend to relinquish legal rights. Typically, attorneys start working on the pre-birth order in the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Pre-birth orders are state specific and not available in every state.
Step 3: The Post-Birth Order
Finally, once your miracle baby is brought into the world, the post-birth order will take place. This process varies greatly from state to state as well as on each individual situation. Stepparent adoption may be required when one parent’s genetic material was combined with donor eggs or sperm to create the embryo, but unmarried same-sex couples may need to complete a co-parent adoption rather than a stepparent adoption. If the intended parents completed an embryo adoption and neither of them is biologically related to the child, a full adoption is required by both parties.
If you’re overwhelmed after reading this, you aren’t alone. We know the surrogacy process and legal requirement can be a lot to digest. Newborn Advantage can offer assistance and top notch legal referrals and much more.