Surrogacy can provide a way for loving parents to have a child they could not have any other way, but this method requires some careful legal planning. Birth mothers and intended parents must sign a contract spelling out the terms of their agreement.
Some points the contract should cover include:
- Financial terms: These will include any fee the intended parents will pay to the birth mother, as well as any other costs involved.
- Medical terms: These can establish where the birth will happen and and how medical costs will be paid for the surrogate mother and the child. They should spell out the terms for prenatal care, the birth and post-natal care.
- Examination terms: From the intended parents’ perspective, it’s important that the surrogate mother go through exams of her physical and psychological health. Obviously, this can be a sensitive topic, and so these terms must be handled with care.
- Terms of parenthood: One of the key points in such an agreement is to make sure the birth mother gives up her parental rights and that the intended parents establish their parental rights. This is especially important for the intended parents because, if the birth mother changes her mind, she will keep custody and all parental rights unless there is a valid contract providing otherwise.
State law is a very important consideration when developing a surrogacy contract. There is no regulation specifically governing surrogacy at the federal level. Instead, there are a variety of laws and regulations at the state level.
Several states will not recognize surrogacy contracts and some go as far as to impose penalties on those who are party to them. Several others allow the contracts, but have strict requirements for them.
California recognizes surrogacy contracts. However, such contracts must meet specific requirements under state law. These include measures laying out financial responsibility and who will pay for the medical costs of the birth mother and the child.
Becoming a parent through surrogacy is a profound emotional experience, but it comes with important legal considerations. Anyone involved in a surrogacy agreement would be wise to seek out professional guidance so that they understand the legal necessities.