Do surrogacy laws differ from state to state?
Yes, there is no federal law in the United States for surrogacy. Each state has its own laws regarding surrogacy and the establishment of parental rights.
What are the most favorable states for surrogacy?
There are many states that have favorable laws for surrogacy. However, there are also states that do not have specific surrogacy laws, instead, surrogacy is favorable by practice only. It is important to talk to an experienced attorney during the matching process to discuss specific states. California is one of the leading states for surrogacy in the world as there is statutory and case law specific to surrogacy that protects all parties involved in a surrogacy arrangement.
When do I engage an attorney?
Although an attorney is needed for the legal contracts (egg donor and/or surrogacy agreement) and to establish the parental rights of the intended parent(s), it is never too early to engage an attorney in your family building journey. An experienced attorney is a great resource and guide throughout the process, even well before you are ready for legal contracts.
Why do I need a surrogacy agreement?
A surrogacy agreement is required by law in every surrogacy arrangement. The purpose of the surrogacy agreement is to establish the intention of the parties and make clear the rights and obligations of each party. It is the foundation needed in order to establish the parental rights of the intended parent(s) and protects all parties involved. The surrogacy agreement must be entered into prior to the surrogate starting any cycling medication in preparation for an embryo transfer procedure.
What is the finalization of parental rights process?
This is the legal (court) process that formally establishes the parental rights of the intended parent(s). Without completing this step, the surrogate would be presumed the legal mother of the child. Thus, it is critical that the finalization occur in a timely manner by an experienced attorney. The rules and procedures to establish the parental rights of the intended parent(s) is state specific. Typically, the state in which the child is expected to be born governs. In California, we are able to establish the parental rights of the intended parent(s) prior to the birth of the child, this is called a pre-birth order.
What happens at the hospital after the child is born?
Upon birth of the child, the intended parent(s) shall take immediate custody of their child, make all medical decisions for their child, and their names will be listed on the initial birth certificate (may vary by state).