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Legal Process

Surrogacy Legal Process

The legal aspects of a surrogacy are some of the more complicated elements of the process. Surrogacy laws vary by state, and can even differ depending on the county – or even the judge – hearing the case. Thus, a thorough understanding of the law in the relevant jurisdiction is the most important aspect of a surrogacy journey.

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Circle Surrogacy Has a Full In-House Legal Team

Circle Surrogacy has in-house legal professionals who can weigh in on matters related to the enforceability of surrogacy contracts, advise hopeful parents on how to navigate their state laws as well as the surrogate’s state laws, and offer useful insights to guide the process. Attorneys will also assist with various other aspects of surrogacy, including the drafting of the surrogacy agreement between the intended parents and the gestational carrier, as well as securing the parents’ parentage rights. Circle also has relationships with attorneys throughout the country – and the world – who are experts in their jurisdictions’ surrogacy, residency and citizenship laws to further assist Intended Parents.

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Carrier Agreement (Contract)

The Carrier Agreement is the legal contract between the gestational carrier (surrogate) and the intended parent(s). The agreement will lay out each party’s rights and responsibilities. It should carefully outline the surrogate’s responsibilities to you as the intended parents, such as attending all required medical appointments, maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the pregnancy, and maintaining contact with the intended parents. The surrogacy agreement will also ensure the gestational carrier relinquishes her claim to parental rights over the child following the child’s birth. The surrogacy agreement will also detail the intended parents’ responsibilities to the surrogate, outline their financial obligations and carefully list all the expenses they must cover throughout the surrogacy. The surrogacy agreement must also outline all potential risks and liabilities and describe each party’s responsibilities should certain contingencies occur, such as a caesarian section or miscarriage. It is essential that all parties involved in a surrogacy agreement ensure the agreement adheres to their state’s surrogacy laws. It is also important that all parties utilize competent attorneys in the drafting and negotiating of the agreement.

Establishing Parental Rights

The most pressing legal issue facing any intended parent is the enforceability of the surrogacy agreement between the intended parents and the surrogate and the establishment of the Intended Parents’ parentage rights. It is important that all parties work with experienced attorneys with knowledge of the requirements in the jurisdiction where the parentage legal work will occur when drafting and negotiating their contracts so that their contracts will be upheld throughout their surrogacy and that proper parentage rights will be granted and birth certificates will reflect proper parentage. It is necessary to draw up a legally binding and thorough surrogacy contract, but it ultimately comes down to the state to enforce the contract and provide the official documentation that establishes the parental rights of the intended parents.

The Pre-Birth Order

The Pre-birth order is a court order establishing the Intended Parents’ parentage of their baby being carried by their surrogate, and is one of the most important documents of the entire surrogacy process. This document ensures that the intended parents are the sole parents of the child immediately upon birth. Each state has its own set of requirements (either in statutes or case law) necessary to establish the intended parents’ rights through the court proceeding. In general, it’s best to start the parentage process as early as possible after confirmation of pregnancy so that the court order is in place prior to birth.

The Pre-birth order is a court order establishing the Intended Parents’ parentage of their baby being carried by their surrogate, and is one of the most important documents of the entire surrogacy process. This document ensures that the intended parents are the sole parents of the child immediately upon birth. Each state has its own set of requirements (either in statutes or case law) necessary to establish the intended parents’ rights through the court proceeding. In general, it’s best to start the parentage process as early as possible after confirmation of pregnancy so that the court order is in place prior to birth.

The Post-Birth Order

Similar to the Pre-Birth Order, this court order establishes the Intended Parent's parentage of their baby being carried by the surrogate. A Post-Birth Order is needed for certain states where the non-biological parent is added to the birth certificate after the baby's birth.

Similar to the Pre-Birth Order, this court order establishes the Intended Parent's parentage of their baby being carried by the surrogate. A Post-Birth Order is needed for certain states where the non-biological parent is added to the birth certificate after the baby's birth.

Second Parent Adoption

In some cases, the intended parents will need to complete an adoption process to attain full legal parental rights over the child. Most situations that require adoption typically involve intended parents where one parent is not biologically related to the child. In those cases, the non-biological parent is adopting his/her spouse’s biological child. It is usually a simpler, more stream-lined process than a full-scale adoption.

In some cases, the intended parents will need to complete an adoption process to attain full legal parental rights over the child. Most situations that require adoption typically involve intended parents where one parent is not biologically related to the child. In those cases, the non-biological parent is adopting his/her spouse’s biological child. It is usually a simpler, more stream-lined process than a full-scale adoption.

What Does a Surrogacy Lawyer Do?

There are a few key milestones during your surrogacy journey during which you'll require the services of a lawyer who is experienced in surrogacy and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) law. The first set of milestones happen early in your journey during the contracts phase, while the second set of milestones happens when you are establishing your parental rights, about midway through the pregnancy.

Circle Parents Receive Full-Service Legal Support

There are many lawyers out there who may be willing to help you with your surrogacy journey, however it's imperative that you do your research and work with a reputable attorney who is experienced in surrogacy and reproductive law.

 

Intended Parents working with Circle Surrogacy will have an attorney on their Journey Coordination Team who will support them throughout their entire journey. Circle Surrogacy’s in-house legal team is knowledgeable in ART law. Circle also has strong relationships with surrogacy lawyers across the country and abroad, to help ensure as seamless a process as possible for all of our intended parents, including those who live internationally.

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