Surrogacy law encompasses family law, contract negotiation, estate planning, insurance and often immigration law. Legal experts working with Shared Conception and other surrogacy agencies are in charge of negotiating agreements between intended parents and surrogates and often egg donors, planning for the future and the best interests of the child, making sure everyone is insured from financial risk, finalizing parental rights, and getting everyone home safely.
Here are 4 of the most important things you should know about surrogacy law.
1. Surrogacy laws differ from state to state.
Surrogacy falls under the umbrella of family law and family law is governed by the states. The law governing a surrogacy arrangement is almost always the one where the surrogate lives. This law will determine parentage and custody, unless the surrogate delivers in a different state.
2. Surrogacy law is always changing.
Cases are being handed down in the lower courts regularly and vital records offices are often changing their practices and procedures. It’s important for surrogacy experts to keep informed about changes in the law and the practice and to pass this information on to you.
3. Working with an experienced attorney is essential.
Despite the existence of precedent, intended parents should still work with an experienced legal professional in the surrogacy field. And negotiating a contract is vital. Doing a surrogacy or egg donation without a contract can lead to rights or responsibilities for the egg donor or the surrogate.
4. Finalizing parental rights can take different forms.
Surrogacy is not a cookie-cutter field. Many factors come into play to determine which is the best way for those pursuing surrogacy to finalize their parental rights. For example, the state or country where the intended parents reside can regulate the finalization of parental rights. In some states, for example, pre-birth orders (ordering hospitals to place intended parents on the birth certificate and giving the intended parents rights to make decisions for the child in the hospital) are recognized. Others, like New York and New Jersey, will not treat a pre-birth order as establishing legal rights if one parent is not biologically related to the child. In those states, the intended parents must do a step or second parent adoption back home.
Our surrogacy agency, Shared Conception, is versed in surrogacy law and will refer you to one of our expert surrogacy attorneys. Give us a call, we know what we are talking about!