Prudent Preparations For Your Surrogacy Plan
Building a family through vitro fertilization or surrogacy can offer exciting possibilities for prospective parents-to-be. At the same time, it is important to consider the practical and legal aspects thoughtfully. There is no substitute for an experienced family law attorney’s guidance through the process.
I am attorney Laura L. Westray in Redondo Beach, serving clients throughout the Los Angeles area and Southern California. I bring years of experience along with a passion to help clients make parenting dreams come true.
What Does Surrogacy Mean To You?
“Surrogacy” typically brings to mind the idea of a married or otherwise committed couple enlisting a third party to carry a baby to term for them. However, other assisted reproductive variations such as egg donation and embryo transplants may have similar legal ramifications.
Whatever form of assisted reproductive technology pertains to your needs, you should pursue trustworthy legal counsel as early as possible. Beware the pitfalls of an informal agreement among friends or with an unknown third party. Even with the best of intentions, difficult outcomes may put your customized family planning in legal or financial jeopardy.
Your unique situation may match up with one or more of these descriptions:
- You and your spouse or partner are an infertile couple intending to have a third-party surrogate mother act as the gestational surrogate for your future child.
- You are a married infertile mother-to-be wishing to adopt an egg, to be fertilized with your husband’s sperm and implanted in your uterus or in a surrogate mother.
- You are a same-sex couple in need of a surrogate mother and/or a sperm donor for the sake of bringing a biological child of one of the two of you into the world. You may have already selected someone, or you may need advice on finding a surrogate or donor through an agency or otherwise.
- You are a hopeful single parent wishing to achieve parenthood through a well-planned-out surrogacy or embryo implantation.
- You are a hopeful gestational mother and/or egg donor. You want legal protections covering your health care and other expenses – and possibly visitation rights or other rights – as you prepare to give the ultimate gift of a child to another person or couple.
Get Answers Before You Need Them – And Build Essential Terms Into Your Agreement Or Contract
In California, an experienced lawyer can help you secure (or release) parental rights before the birth of a child carried by a surrogate. This state also requires surrogate mothers and parents-to-be of babies to be born through surrogacy to have separate legal counsel when creating a contract. A solidly crafted surrogacy agreement may also spell out contingency plans and answer questions ahead of time such as:
- Who will pay for artificial insemination (if applicable), as well as prenatal care, labor and delivery costs, and postpartum care for the surrogate mother? Will the surrogate be compensated beyond actual expenses?
- What legal status, if any, will a surrogate mother, an egg donor or a surrogate mother’s spouse have with regard to the coming child? Will the sperm donor, the husband of the surrogate mother or the husband of the intended mother-to-be have any father’s rights or responsibilities – and if so, beginning or ending when?
- Who might be responsible for child support in case of unexpected results such as a surrogate mother’s change of heart?
- Who will assume financial responsibility in case of a miscarriage or the birth of a baby with serious birth defects or medical problems?
- How will the transfer of the newborn baby to the intended parents take place? Will the surrogate mother be allowed time with him or her?
These are just a few examples of problem areas that can be resolved ahead of time. To avoid unforeseen heartache and costly surprises, get legal plans in place before such things occur. Know your rights, get contract terms formalized and get legalities out of the way so you can plan ahead with confidence and joy.
Contact An Established Southern California Family Law Attorney
I welcome your inquiries about any facet of surrogacy. I offer free initial 30-minute phone consultations on surrogacy, paternity matters, and other family law matters. I am ready to start the conversation when you are. Call 310-683-2585 or send an inquiry through this website for a prompt response.