Before any woman can become a surrogate, she must complete a surrogacy contract with the guidance of an experienced surrogacy attorney.
Surrogacy contracts are an important part of making the surrogacy process as safe as possible for all involved — surrogates, intended parents and surrogacy professionals. A surrogacy should never proceed without a surrogacy contract, as it opens up all parties to complicated legal repercussions.
When completed correctly with the assistance of your personal surrogacy attorney, your gestational surrogacy agreement will protect you from any legal risks and liabilities of the surrogacy process and ensure as smooth a process as possible.
It’s always best to speak with a surrogacy attorney to learn all about the intricate details of a surrogacy contract. While this article offers some helpful information, it should not be taken as strict legal advice. Only an attorney can provide that.
In the meantime, here are a few basic things you need to know.
How Do You Create a Surrogacy Contract?
A surrogacy contract, also known as a surrogacy agreement, should encompass all of the possibilities of a surrogacy process — no matter how rare they are. You and the intended parents you choose will each have separate surrogacy attorneys during the negotiating and drafting stage of this legal process. However, what your surrogacy agreement ends up being will be the result of a collaborative effort.
Generally, here’s how the surrogacy contract process will work:
- The intended parents work with their attorney to draft the initial contract, which will then be sent to you and your attorney.
- You and your attorney will review the surrogacy contract to ensure your requests, rights and interests are addressed. If necessary, you will make appropriate changes and send the draft back to the intended parents’ attorney.
- The surrogacy contract process will continue like this until you and the intended parents are satisfied with the terms of the agreement.
- You and the intended parents will sign the surrogacy contract, after which you can move forward with the medical process of surrogacy. (Many medical professionals will not proceed with a surrogacy unless a contract has already been signed.)
Your surrogacy attorney is an integral part of drafting your gestational surrogacy agreement. While you may be able to find a sample surrogacy contract online, completing a contract without legal guidance will not fully protect you from the potential risks and liabilities of being a surrogate. Only a surrogacy attorney can recognize every potential complication and properly address them in your surrogacy contract. A contract drafted and signed without an attorney’s help is a serious liability in and of itself.
What is Included in a Surrogacy Contract?
Surrogacy is a complicated process, and the guidance of surrogacy professionals is always recommended to ensure your journey as a surrogate is handled safely and efficiently. Every surrogacy will look different based on the needs and preferences of the surrogate and the intended parents — and their surrogacy contract will reflect those personal circumstances.
In general, a well-drafted surrogacy agreement will include:
- Financial information, like the amount of base compensation you will receive and any additional compensation you’ll receive for other surrogacy- and pregnancy-related expenses
- Risks and liabilities associated with pregnancy and the surrogacy process and any subsequent steps should they occur
- Your health responsibilities, like abstaining from alcohol and drugs during your pregnancy
- Agreement on sensitive issues like selective reduction and termination
- Contact agreements detailing who will be present at certain appointments and how often information will be shared
- And more
An experienced surrogacy attorney will take all “what if” situations and possible outcomes into consideration when drafting a surrogacy contract that will protect your rights and interests. You will have the right to ask for certain requests to be included in your surrogacy agreement, and working closely with your surrogacy attorney will be helpful in creating a surrogacy journey that you are comfortable with.
How Do I Start Writing My Surrogacy Contract?
As mentioned, there may be sample surrogacy contracts found online but, if you’re considering becoming a surrogate, you should contact a surrogacy agency or a surrogacy attorney to start your surrogacy contract process. Surrogacy contracts can only be drafted after you are matched with intended parents, and a surrogacy agency can help you find intended parents who meet your expectations and share your surrogacy goals. Only after all the initial screening has been completed and a match has been successfully made should you begin working with a surrogacy attorney on your surrogacy contract.
Becoming a surrogate involves a great deal of your time and energy — not to mention your body. It’s only normal that you should feel protected and properly compensated for this selfless decision you have made, and this is where your surrogacy contract comes into play.
To learn more about how you can protect your rights during the surrogacy process, contact a surrogacy professional today.