There are a few key milestones during your surrogacy and egg donation journey during which you'll require the services of a lawyer who is experienced in surrogacy and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) law.
Carrier Agreement (Contract).
The Carrier Agreement is the legal contract between the gestational carrier 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 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.
Egg Donor Agreement.
Similar to the Carrier agreement, the Egg Donor Agreement is put in place to protect all parties involved in the egg donation arrangement, state the intended parents’ and donor’s intentions and legal obligations, and dissolve the donor’s custody over the baby born through the process. The egg donor agreement gives intended parents control of all eggs retrieved from the donor as well as any resulting embryos. It also outlines the need for purchasing medical insurance to cover the egg donor for any complications that may arise, as well as all travel-related expenses.
The agreement also addresses future contact between the IPs and egg donor, which depends largely on whether it’s a known donation, semi-known donation, or anonymous donation. The egg donor agreement also includes a clause requiring the egg donor to provide updated medical information if her health history changes. Intended parents should work with an experienced lawyer when negotiating their Egg Donor 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.