How Are Intended Parents Protected in a Surrogacy Contract?

If you are exploring the surrogacy world for the first time, it may come as a surprise that legal contracts play a big role in the process. Because surrogacy involves the use of a third party in the reproductive process, legal contracts are an essential component of protecting the rights of the intended parents. Furthermore, surrogacy laws vary widely from state to state, with some states having very vague legislation about parental rights. A surrogacy contract is designed to bring clarity to an otherwise murky legal landscape.

What Is a Surrogacy Contract?

A surrogacy contract is a written legal document that contains an agreement between the intended parent(s) and the surrogate. The document outlines both the rights and obligations of both parties.

The most important aspect of the agreement provides the intended parents with legal protections that guarantee their parental rights by ensuring that the surrogate will not try to claim custody after the child’s birth. In California, which has some of the most robust and supportive surrogacy laws on the books, these agreements are ratified before the embryo transfer procedure even occurs, which removes any legal standing for surrogates to claim parental rights.

What Details Are Included in a Surrogacy Contract?

While each surrogacy relationship will be unique and require customized contracts, there are a few elements that should always be covered by the agreement. General stipulations include the establishment of the intent, rights, and obligations of both the intended parent(s) and the surrogate, as well as the creation of a trust/escrow account that will be provided by the intended parent(s) to reimburse and compensate the surrogate. The contract should also establish communication guidelines for both parties throughout the pregnancy process.

Some other important details include:

  • An agreement on the surrogate’s lifestyle behaviors (e.g., risky activities, diet)
  • Terms of how involved the intended parent(s) will be in regard to medical decisions
  • Specific resolutions for possible liabilities, conflicts, and risks

These details not only help protect the intended parents’ parental rights but also allow them to be more involved in the pregnancy. It also helps to guide the process towards a more favorable outcome if any problems arise.

Getting Your Surrogacy Contract Right

To ensure that your surrogacy contract is ideal for your specific situation, it’s best to team up with a lawyer who specializes in fertility law. A fertility lawyer will understand all the ins and outs of the legal process and be able to navigate the surrogacy legislation of your particular local community.

If you are considering entering a third-party reproduction arrangement and want to discuss legal assistance, contact Falletta & Klein today.

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