We handle the following areas of surrogacy law:
- Representation of Intended Parents
- Gestational Surrogacy
- Traditional Surrogacy
- Pre-Planned Adoption Agreements
- All Related Legal Work
The area of surrogate parenting is sometimes also referred to using the terms pre-planned adoption or assisted reproductive technology. This area can be confusing, and a difficult legal maze to work through. Some terms you should be familiar with include:
Intended Parents – These are the parents with whom the child will reside, and in whom legal parental rights will be established. They may also be referred to as the Commissioning Couple, or Commissioning Parents.
Gestational Surrogate – This is a woman who carries the baby in her womb until the baby is born. She may or may not be biologically related to the child. Usually, she is not, and an embryo formed using the Intended Parents’ genetic material, or perhaps genetic material from an egg and/or a sperm donor, is used. However, Florida law defines gestational surrogacy narrowly. Under Florida law, a gestational surrogate is a woman who contracts to become pregnant through assisted reproductive technology without using her eggs, so she would not be biologically related to the child. The pregnancy must involve assisted reproductive technology using the eggs or sperm of at least one of the Intended Parents. The law requires that the Commissioning Couple sign a written agreement with the gestational surrogate to carry the child. The requirements for a gestational surrogacy contract are described in Florida Statutes, Chapter 742.15. Within three days after the child’s birth, the Commissioning Couple is to petition the court for expedited affirmation of parental status. The Court then sets a hearing and reviews the gestational surrogacy agreement to confirm that it complies with the law.
Traditional Surrogate – This is a woman who carries the baby in her womb until the baby is born, and traditionally, she is biologically related to the child because it was her egg that was used to create the embryo. The pregnancy is usually achieved by artificial insemination using the Intended Father’s sperm. The Intended Parents must enter into a pre-planned adoption agreement with the surrogate. In addition, under a pre-planned adoption agreement, a surrogate can carry a child that is the result of a union between her egg or a donor egg and either donor sperm or sperm from the Intended Father. In traditional surrogacy or preplanned adoption, there is a 48 hour post birth period during which a surrogate may rescind her consent to the surrogacy.
In all of these situations, it is very important that legal, emotional, and psychological issues be carefully considered before any insemination takes place.
In addition to the payment for all expenses associated with the medical screening, insemination, prenatal care, birth and delivery expenses, and so on, considerations should include the financial and psychological stability of both the surrogate and the Intended Parents, and any other very close family members, such as the surrogate’s husband, if she is married. Future expectations (any continuing contact between surrogate and child) must be discussed. It is imperative that a comprehensive legal agreement be prepared which provides for many scenarios.
Your decision to extend your family using assisted reproductive technology is not one you will make lightly. The agreements you make ahead of time will affect your family for years to come. Be sure to work through this decision with an eye to the future. We’re here to help you.