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Surrogacy Law

Prospective parents have several alternatives to natural child conception and pregnancy, including the use of a surrogate mother to carry an implanted embryo to term. It is important for potential surrogate mothers and prospective parents to fully understand surrogacy laws, which differ by state. This section contains articles and resources about laws that are relevant to surrogate mothers and prospective parents, a checklist to help you draft a legally sound surrogacy contract, reasons why the help of an attorney can help make a surrogacy arrangement go more smoothly, and more.

What Is Surrogate Parenthood?

Surrogate parenting generally refers to a situation in which a woman agrees to carry a child for another person or couple. The surrogate parent is not considered to be the child’s mother. Rather, the other person (or couple) is intended to be the legal parent of the child born to the surrogate parent. There are two types of surrogate parenting arrangements. One is gestational or IVF, in which the surrogate does not use her own egg. Rather, the embryo is created with the egg of the intended parents or an egg donor. The second type is referred to as a “traditional” arrangement, or “AI” (artificial insemination), in which case the surrogate's egg is used.

Factors to Consider When Interviewing a Surrogate Mother

When you are looking for a surrogate with whom you can entrust the first nine months of your baby’s life, you will want to find someone who will treat the pregnancy as if it were her own.There are many factors that determine whether a woman is the right person to carry your child: her physical health, genetics, emotional well being, and support network all have a bearing on the development and well being of your child. Beyond that, you also have medical, legal, and financial considerations to keep in mind. Raising these questions early in the interviewing process will help you quickly narrow down surrogates who share your vision of the future and your family.

Child Visitation and Child Custody Agreements

Either before or after a legal process has begun, many parents negotiate a parenting agreement (also called a parenting plan). A parenting agreement can include a wide variety of details including which parent will have primary custody, specifics on the other parents visitation periods, particulars on which parent will make decisions regarding the childs education, health care or religion, as well as procedures for the handling of potential changes to the arrangement.

Do I Need An Attorney?

The laws on surrogacy vary from state to state, so the location of your surrogate is an important issue to consider. Also, bear in mind, surrogacy laws are constantly changing. It is important to consider consulting a family law attorney for advice. A skilled family law attorney can help draft an enforceable surrogacy contract that addresses the important issues and the contingencies that could arise before, during, and after the pregnancy. Also, surrogacy and artificial insemination laws vary widely by state, and your attorney can help explain your state's rules to you. Most offer free consultations, so your first step should be to contact an experienced family attorney.

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