Along for the Ride: A Real Time Surrogacy Experience

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Along for the Ride: Surrogacy Agreements

I always try to keep these posts short and sweet. So as I sat down to pen a post on the contracting phase of the surrogacy journey, I had to chuckle at the irony. Here I sit, trying my hardest to write a brief piece… about a 40 page document!

That’s sort of the standard length of a surrogacy agreement. They’re long. But man am I thankful that they’re long. It means that nearly every imaginable scenario, every potential complication, it’s all been given diligent thought and will result in a mutually agreed upon outcome long before a pregnancy ever occurs. Even so, when you receive the first draft of your surrogacy agreement, it’s overwhelming.

 

I printed mine off with the full intent to read every.single.word. I feel like it’s the surrogate’s responsibility to do just that. This document is a legally binding work, and it determines much about how my life will look over the next 12-24 months. While it is true that, at least with Growing Generations, I will be given an attorney specializing in reproductive law to explain the agreement to me and help me make any necessary changes, it is first and foremost MY responsibility to read this thing and know exactly what I am agreeing to do and, perhaps more importantly, not to do.

 

So I sat down with a soup bowl of coffee, a highlighter, and a free hour or so and went to town.

 

The good news is that Growing Generations is so committed to ethical surrogacy that nearly everything that is in the agreement has been spelled out for you well before you receive this document. Expectations are clearly defined and explained at every step of the process with Growing Generations, so there are no surprises when it’s time to sign the papers.

Every agreement is custom written for the parties involved, so I can’t really tell you what is inside of a surrogacy agreement. Mostly it consists of things that you’ve already spoken about many times. How many embryos, who will have custody, and what happens in the case of an emergency, specifically the fact that no matter what happens, including intended parent death, custody is outlined to ensure that this baby is going home with someone OTHER than me. it’s all kind of old hat.

Other things may be included that are unique to you and your match. Things like what sorts of foods you can and cannot eat (some parents want an all organic diet, others insist on no rare meats, some don’t have any preferences at all), how far from home you may travel past the 24th week of pregnancy, and in my case, rights to the Placenta post delivery. It is important to remember that every agreement is unique and can contain just about anything. What’s important is to ask questions if something is unclear, and speak up if there is something that you can’t live with during the course of the agreement.

Once I had read the contract I scheduled my phone conference with the attorney Growing Generations had arranged for me. It’s a quick call where I could ask questions, request changes, and do anything else that needed to be done.  

A few days later my final agreement arrived in my Email. Just click, print, and sign in the presence of a notary public and BAM, legal is completed. Easy Peasy. What’s next?

 

Resources:

A Look At Surrogacy Agreements

How State Laws Affect Surrogacy

International Law & Surrogacy

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.