You know that every married gestational carrier needs the approval and support of her spouse before she can start the surrogacy process. But, what if your marriage is on the rocks or you sense a divorce in the future? Can you still be a surrogate?
A spouse’s involvement in surrogacy is about more than just emotional support. There are practical and legal matters that must be discussed and agreed upon. If you and your spouse’s relationship is on shaky grounds, it can easily cause huge complications in your surrogacy journey.
Our specialists are always available to answer your questions about your spouse’s involvement in your surrogacy journey. You can contact us online or call us anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to get answers to your questions. In the meantime, we’ve provided some basic information below to help you learn more.
If You’re Currently Going Through a Divorce
Perhaps surrogacy was a journey you imagined going through together with your spouse — both of you helping to create a family in the most selfless and beautiful way possible. But, when your relationship begins to crack, that future may seem farther away than ever.
Still, your desire to be a surrogate probably isn’t something that will go away just because your marriage is reaching its end. Whether you’re in the middle of divorce proceedings or are wrapping up the final legal details, you may ask, “Can I start becoming a surrogate while I’m getting divorced?”
The process of becoming a surrogate does take some time, so you might anticipate your divorce being finalized long before any matching and medical steps take place. However, divorce proceedings can take a while, too, so there is always the possibility the two will overlap. For this reason, we encourage prospective surrogates to hold off on their applications until after their divorce proceedings finalize. After all, divorce takes a great deal of time and emotional energy. While you may want to distract yourself and look forward to the next adventure in your life, it can often be too much to try to start surrogacy before this step is complete.
You are always welcome to reach out to our specialists beforehand to learn more about the surrogacy process. They can answer your questions and help you determine whether being a gestational carrier will be the right move for you after your divorce is complete.
Starting Divorce Proceedings During Surrogacy
Ideally, every surrogate would enter into her journey with a solid, supportive relationship. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Either because of long-time disagreements or abruptly changing circumstances, some surrogates may find their marriages breaking down after they’ve already started the surrogacy process.
Before we get into those details, you need to understand why your spouse will always be legally involved in the surrogacy process. Laws on parental rights vary by state, and it’s possible that your spouse will be declared the legal father or mother of the child at birth, even though they are not genetically related to the baby. That’s why every surrogate’s spouse is required to sign surrogacy contracts and work with the attorney to ensure parental rights are assumed by the intended parents upon birth, not the surrogate and her spouse.
If you haven’t yet signed surrogacy contracts but anticipate an upcoming divorce, your specialist will likely want you to wait until the divorce is final before doing so. Otherwise, there may be additional legal issues with your spouse being declared the legal father after birth, which can complicate legal proceedings for the intended parents. You’ll also need your spouse to sign the agreement, as well, because their support is vital to your success. If you two are not on good terms, you may not get the signature you need.
If you have already completed legal contracts, and you and your spouse are discussing divorce, let your specialist know as soon as possible. We understand this is a personal and sensitive topic, but any drawn-out legal proceedings you enter into during your surrogacy can influence your journey moving forward. The intended parents have a right to know about this, too.
By keeping your specialist in the loop, we can offer the support and guidance you may need as you determine what steps to take from here. We can also refer you to counselors and other resources that can help you and your spouse during this difficult time.
If Your Spouse Isn’t On Board With Your Decision
When you first begin your surrogacy journey, your specialist will talk to you at length about the importance of your spouse being supportive of your decision. If you and your spouse are having issues in your relationship and they do not support your choice to be a surrogate, it’s not as simple as just ignoring them and continuing anyway. If you are still married at the time you begin your journey, they will have a role to play in your surrogacy.
Many surrogates’ spouses are uncomfortable with the idea of surrogacy at first, even those who have solid, supportive relationships. If your spouse is unsure about you being a surrogate, you’ll need to talk with them in depth about your decision. Take the chance to educate them about how the process really works and what will be expected of them along the way. Make it clear why you’re choosing this path and how much their support will mean to you. Even if you are not legally married at the time you start, your spouse’s help will be instrumental as you commit a great deal of time to this journey moving forward.
We know that surrogates come from many different backgrounds and life experiences, which is why our specialists are always happy to talk about how yours may influence your journey as a gestational carrier. Whatever your current marital situation is, give us a call anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online to get answers to your questions. We can also offer guidance on talking to your spouse about surrogacy, if it is needed.