An important part of the surrogacy process is establishing a contract between the surrogate mother and the intended parents. Whether the two parties know each other or not, a contract is important in order to protect the interests of each group. In addition, a contract needs to be signed before any medical steps can be taken by either party. Each side should hire a lawyer, who will be able to explain their rights and advocate for what is best for them. Moreover, a lawyer will know what needs to be in a contract so that it has legal standing. Your contract should include the following:
Risks and Responsibilities
With every surrogacy there are risks and responsibilities that each party assumes. A surrogacy lawyer will help you understand what these are and assist you if you run into any challenges throughout the process. Some risks and responsibilities include:
- The surrogacy mother’s medical risks surrounding complications from implantment of the embryo and pregnancy.
- The intended parent’s financial responsibilities in the event that medical complications take place.
- Acknowledgement by both parties that the pregnancy might not be successful. The contract will specify what will happen in the case that the pregnancy doesn’t take or a miscarriage occurs.
- The surrogate mother’s responsibility to make healthy choices throughout the pregnancy.
An important part of the contract is determining the surrogate’s mother compensation. An experienced surrogacy lawyer will negotiate the price, when payments will be made, and any other details that pertain to payment.
Each Party’s Roles
A contract will establish the roles that each party will fill throughout the process. This is based on the preferences of each party. The contract will help determine:
- What, if any, appointments the intended parents will attend. The contract will specify which appointments the parents will be at, who will attend and for what parts of the appointment, and more.
- How often the surrogate mother will provide pregnancy updates and other information.
- Whether there are special classes the surrogate mother and intended parents will participate in during the pregnancy.
- The intended parent’s participation at the baby’s birth.
- Whether the surrogate mother will continue to have a relationship with the family and child after the birth.
It is important to plan for what will happen if things go wrong. You may want to determine what to do ahead of time in the case of miscarriage, that the pregnancy results in twins, the mother or baby experience medical complications, or if the mother decides to terminate the poignancy. A contract establishes your legal rights in each situation, so if the worst occurs, you are protected.