Surrogacy is an option for building a family for those who are unable or do not wish to conceive on their own. Because surrogacy can be complicated, for all parties involved, it is advisable to determine rights and obligations early in the process to address the complexities and nuances.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a popular choice among many different types of couples because it allows intended parents to have a child who is genetically related to them. This can be as simple as choosing a surrogate from which to adopt a child or as complex as creating a genetic link through the use of genetic material donated to use in the creation of the child.
Surrogacy is where the surrogate (third party) carries an embryo using her ova and genetic material from the intended father or third party for the sole purpose of helping the intended parents build their family. Gestational surrogacy is where the gestational carrier is implanted with an embryo created from the genetic material of the intended parents, donors. The gestational carrier does not contribute any of her genetic material to the embryo.
Having a well-drafted agreement to address the rights of the intended parents is important. An experienced attorney can assist you in both the negotiation and preparation of a valid surrogacy agreement to ensure all rights are protected. Surrogacy agreements should detail all issues involved with the surrogacy process including, but not limited to:
- compensation, if any, to the surrogate/gestational carrier;
- medical care at all stages, including before, during, and after the birth of the child; and
- restricted activities and behaviors as well as any other issues that can arise through fertility and pregnancy.
What about the Birth of the Child?
In addition to the surrogacy agreement, it is also necessary to have an attorney obtain a pre-birth order to legally establish your parental rights before the birth of the child. The pre-birth order establishes the intended parents as the true parents of the child even though they are not giving birth to the child, allowing them to make decisions at the hospital, both during and following the birth of the child, and to be listed on the child’s birth certificate as the parents.
Do I have to pay a Surrogate?
Because North Carolina currently has no laws on surrogacy it is not required that you compensate a surrogate or gestational carrier. However, the intended parents and the surrogate or gestational carrier may agree to compensation. Compensation is usually considered to be any payments made in addition to medical expenses. Compensation should be addressed in a surrogacy agreement prepared by an experienced attorney.
Does it matter that the Intended parents are LGBT or unmarried?
LGBT couples may want to consider surrogacy or gestational surrogacy if they are unable to have a child that is genetically related to them. LGBT families have the same and equal rights as other couples. However, it is critical that LGBT couples, as well as other unmarried couples, work with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to ensure that their parental rights are correctly established since one or both parents may not be genetically related to the child.
Using surrogacy to bring a child into your family is a life-changing process that can be filled with stress and anxiety. If you are considering surrogacy, the family lawyers at Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law Firm are able to guide intended parents, donors, surrogates, and gestational carriers through the entire process. We understand the legal challenges and questions that can arise and can help ensure that your rights are protected through the use of properly drafted agreements that can help you avoid costly mistakes and undue hardship. If you have questions about surrogacy and need a compassionate attorney to assist you, schedule a consultation today. Call Daphne Edwards Family Law at (919) 838-7160.