As you experience your family-building journey, you will undoubtedly receive a lot of unwanted advice. Some of it may have merit, and some of it may be crazy; but if there’s one piece of advice that you should take, it’s the advice about hiring a good lawyer to stay with you throughout the gestational surrogacy process.
You may have been planning on handling most of the legal matters yourself, with some help from a friend or from the internet. Maybe you don’t want the hassle of trying to find a lawyer who knows about assisted reproduction law; or maybe you’re trying to save some money, cutting corners to trim the already hefty price tag associated with gestational surrogacy.
Perhaps you have settled on a surrogate who is a part of your family, or who is a dear friend. Since you’re so close to the person, you may not feel the need to have a lawyer involved. You might be nervous that bringing a lawyer into the picture will raise doubts in the mind of your potential surrogate, making her feel that you don’t trust her.
After all, you can always find a gestational surrogacy agreement online, right? You believe that you can read through the agreement and make sure that it’s comprehensive and correctly worded. But with all the thoughts, reasons, and justifications telling you to do it, there is one question to consider—Why take the chance?
Why take a chance on the gestational surrogacy agreement that is so vital? Why leave your happiness in the hands of a faceless internet user who posted a document that may or may not be legal and binding in your state?
Why take the chance that the woman you trust to carry your child may change her mind? As close as your bond may be to the person right now, you know that relationships can fall apart, sometimes within a matter of hours. Emotions run high, and the extra stress can take a toll on an individual’s better judgment. With the help of a lawyer, you have legal recourse in case problems arise during the pregnancy or at the time of the birth.
If you’re dealing with a surrogate through an agency, you need a lawyer as well. In fact, the agency may require it. You need someone who understands the parentage laws for your state. That means securing the aid of a lawyer who currently practices surrogacy or ART law and has plenty of experience with the system.
Preferably, two attorneys should be involved in drafting the gestational surrogacy agreement — one for the intended parents and the other for the surrogate herself. Make sure that you have an attorney who has your best interests at heart. If you’re using a relative or family member as a surrogate instead of going through an agency, explain to your surrogate that getting her own lawyer is not an act of mistrust, but a safeguard that protects her and her interests as well as yours.
Whenever human beings are involved, there is the potential for error. Reduce that risk of human error by placing your family’s future in the hands of a trained professional, one who can skillfully navigate the legal waters for you.
Get Instant Access To My Free Surrogacy Guide
Discover how to avoid a stressful and heartbreaking surrogacy journey (and tips for finding the right surrogate for your journey)
About Nicole K. White
As a mother via gestational surrogacy, Nicole is passionate about helping her clients experience the joy and fulfillment of starting or growing a family of their own through third party reproduction. Her knowledge and experience as an attorney and as an intended parent mean she knows firsthand what you will go through and what you will need – understanding, ongoing support, guidance and a smooth process.