The Contracting Phase
Once you have confirmed the match with your surrogate, you will move into the contracting phase of your journey. During this time, you will be working with lawyers who are very well versed in fertility and reproductive law in the United States to draft and execute your surrogacy agreement.
Many states require a legal contract between the surrogate and the intended parents. This contract, commonly known as the surrogacy agreement, will be catered to suit the laws of the states/countries that are included as well as any specific requests you and your surrogate have agreed upon.
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. Examples include:
- What will happen to the child should something happen to the intended parents before the baby is born
- What would happen if the baby were diagnosed with a genetic illness while in utero.
- How many fetuses is the surrogate willing to carry
The contract is designed to protect all parties and prevent potential disputes.
Most IVF clinics will stipulate that a surrogacy agreement be in place before any medical procedures begin.
Later on in your journey, you will need to manage more legal paperwork to establish parental rights. Final parental establishment for the intended parents is acquired via a court order declaring the parental rights and obligations of the intended parents. At this point, you will be identified as the sole legal parents. 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.