There are many pathways to becoming a parent. For some, surrogacy is an option to consider. In a surrogacy arrangement, a person or couple makes an agreement with a woman to become pregnant and carry a baby to term for the purpose of creating a family for that person or couple. The woman who carries the pregnancy is called the Surrogate. The person who makes the agreement with the Surrogate is called the Intended Parent, or, if a couple, the Intended Parents.
Traditional surrogacy – The Surrogate is inseminated using sperm from the Intended Father, which fertilizes the Surrogate’s own egg. Thus, the Surrogate is genetically related to the child she carries. She is called a “traditional Surrogate”.
Gestational surrogacy – Sometimes there is no genetic material from the Surrogate used to create the pregnancy. Medical science now makes it possible for a Surrogate to carry an implanted embryo created with the egg and sperm of the Intended Parents, or from anonymous or known donors. In these cases, the Surrogate is called a “gestational carrier” and she has no genetic connection to the child she carries.
There are usually two legal steps in the surrogacy process. First, an agreement between all parties must be carefully drafted. This agreement will include the Surrogate, her spouse if married, the Intended Parents, and possibly others, if there are additional known genetic donors. Secondly, prior to birth, a court order can be obtained declaring that the Intended Parents are the genetic, and therefore, legal parents of the child to be born, and their names should be on the birth certificate. This is called a “pre-birth order”.
With so many options in the area of assisted reproduction, it is essential that all parties be represented by an attorney with the requisite knowledge and experience. Our firm works with both Surrogates and Intended Parents to review and guide them through the complexities of this process. We also represent Intended Parents in any necessary court proceedings and coordinate with hospitals to ensure that all goes well during delivery and that the Intended Parents are able to take their baby from the hospital.
For more information on surrogacy, or any other assisted reproduction issues, call NicholsonPham and schedule a consultation.