When entering into a surrogacy arrangement in California, it is important to have a solid understanding of the legal contract between you and the surrogate mother. This document will outline the rights and responsibilities of both the surrogate mother and intended parents and can help avoid any potential disputes down the road.
Negotiating a surrogacy contract
The first step in any surrogacy arrangement is to negotiate a contract between the surrogate mother and the intended parents. This document will outline the terms of the agreement, including:
- The risks and liability associated with the pregnancy
- Adequate compensation for the surrogate, including for unique circumstances like invasive procedures, multiple babies, or delivery complications
- A clear plan for medical care and expenses
- The rights of the surrogate mother to terminate the pregnancy under certain circumstances
- The intended parents’ right to receive the child at birth
Usually, the intended parents will send the mother a draft of their proposed contract, which the mother can then review with her lawyer. If there’s anything they don’t like or need clarification on, they’ll negotiate back and forth until they come to a final agreement that everyone is happy with.
Enforcement of surrogacy contracts
If there is a dispute about the terms of a surrogacy contract, either party can file a lawsuit to enforce its provisions. In most cases, courts will uphold these contracts as long as they are clear and unambiguous. However, if the terms of your agreement are vague, you can solve your issues through mediation, arbitration or litigation.
The final step in the surrogacy process is the birth of the child. Once the baby is born, the surrogate mother will sign over all legal rights to the intended parents.
Although it rarely happens, some surrogate mothers can change their minds about giving up the child. However, it does; the best course of action would be to try to negotiate with them and come to an agreement. If that’s not possible, you may need to file a lawsuit to enforce your rights under the contract.
Surrogacy is an amazing way to create or expand your family, but it’s important to understand the legal implications before moving forward. In California, surrogacy contracts are governed by the Surrogacy Parental Rights Act, which went into effect on January 01, 2013.