What is a Surrogacy Lawyer, and why do you need one?
Surrogacy laws are constantly changing, vary widely by country/state/province and can be particularly complex, so it is practically impossible to complete a surrogacy process without the legal guidance of a surrogacy lawyer.
You need a surrogacy lawyer to protect your interests and legal rights as a prospective surrogate mother, intended parent or egg donor.
No matter what kind of surrogacy journey you decide to pursue, most surrogacy professionals recommend against entering into a donation or surrogacy agreement without first consulting a reputable attorney, specializing in third-party reproduction.
What is a surrogacy lawyer?
A surrogacy lawyer is one of the many necessary specialists required to pursue a surrogacy journey. This kind of professional is also known as an assisted reproductive technology (ART) lawyer. An attorney experienced in working with prospective parents and surrogates can tell what you can expect in terms of timeline, costs, and challenges that could appear, as well as answer any doubt you may have.
Surrogacy attorneys have to go through the same certification process as any other lawyer, which means they often have years of experience before they even start practicing on their own. This kind of lawyer can deal with the legalities of all kinds of assisted reproduction, like surrogacy, egg/sperm/embryo donation and also the legal process required to get parental rights.
Why do you need a surrogacy lawyer?
Surrogacy lawyers are a must for intended parents, surrogate mothers and egg donors going through a surrogacy or egg donation process.
At present, each state in the US and province in Canada has different legal regulations to be followed by prospective parents, surrogates and donors. Often, these laws and regulations are quite complex and evolve constantly. If any of the parties involved in a surrogacy agreement don’t follow them exactly, there can be criminal consequences. This is a major reason why surrogacy attorneys are a key professional in any surrogacy journey.
A surrogacy lawyer will always work to protect the rights and interests of their client.
As a result, it is necessary that each party in a surrogacy process (the intended parents and the surrogate mother) are represented by separate surrogacy attorneys.
How a surrogacy attorney can help you?
A legal professional will help to:
- Draft an enforceable surrogacy agreement that protects the rights and interests of both parties involved and cover all potential risks and liabilities of the surrogacy process.
- Establish parental rights, through appropriate legal actions (like pre-birth or post-birth orders).
- Ensure you meet any specific local requirements.
- Be your legal counsel during the whole surrogacy process.
If you are looking to pursue a surrogacy journey, you will need to work with an experienced surrogacy lawyer, before starting any medical process. Indeed, top fertility clinics will not allow the medical process to begin until a signed surrogacy agreement is presented.
How do you find a surrogacy attorney?
As surrogacy and egg donation become more popular, the number of surrogacy attorneys available in the United States and Canada continues to grow as well. However, with so many professionals out there, how do you find the one that is right for you?
Like finding the right surrogacy agency, choosing the right surrogacy lawyer will take some research and understanding what you need from them. Luckily for you, if you decide to work with a surrogacy agency, it’s likely that your specialist will have a list of reputable lawyers specializing in third-party reproduction that their organization often works with.
Take the time to speak with several surrogacy attorneys
As you speak with a surrogacy lawyer to determine if they are the right professional for you, here are some questions to ask:
- How long have you worked in assisted reproductive technologies?
- Where are you licensed to practice?
- What is the average cost of the cases you’ve handled?
- Do you bill by the hour or charge a surrogacy flat fee?
- Do you require a retainer fee?
- Will you help me find a gestational carrier? If not, how do we do that?
- Will you manage payments to the carrier and others?
- Could I speak with a few current or past clients?
- How many surrogates and intended parents do you typically work with at a time?
- How long have you been practicing law?
- How will you help me identify and protect my surrogacy goals and preferences?
- What does your contract negotiation process look like?
Remember, it’s always important that you feel one hundred percent confident with your surrogacy attorney before you commit to working with them.