So You’re Thinking of Becoming a Surrogate: Legal Contracts

contractsYou may be thinking of becoming a surrogate because you want to help people who are unable to conceive children. This is an admirable desire, and there are some legal provisions to consider.

A Legal Contract

Many states require a legal contract between you as a surrogate and the intended parents. This is commonly known as the surrogacy agreement. If you are becoming a surrogate by means of IVF (in vitro fertilization), the clinic at which you are receiving the procedure will stipulate that a surrogacy agreement must be in place before any medical procedures begin. The main purpose of the contract is to specify and clarify the outcomes of any issues that may arise during the course of the pregnancy, such as what will happen to the child should something happen to the intended parents before the baby is born, or what would happen if the baby was diagnosed with a genetic illness while in utero. The contract is designed to protect all parties and prevent any disputes from arising.  Final parental establishment for the intended parents is acquired via a court order declaring the parental rights and obligations of the intended parents. As the surrogate, you will need to agree that:

  • The intended parents are the sole legal parents.
  • As a surrogate you are relinquishing any parental rights or obligations.

The court order will also include directions for the department of Vital Records to issue a birth certificate for the child, upon which will be placed the names of the intended parents. This is usually done before the end of the third trimester, though this may vary from state to state. If you have decided to become a surrogate, bear in mind that you should have a legal representative during the legal phase to review and interpret the contract for you. Because surrogacy legalities can be complex, it is very important to attain an attorney who has experience in reproductive technology law.

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.