When you choose to pursue surrogacy, you know that the first choice you’ll need to make is selecting a surrogacy agency that’s right for you. You may think that you can start moving forward with the surrogacy process after finding this professional, but you’ll actually need to be in touch with several more before you can actually start the surrogacy process.
One of these professionals is your surrogacy attorney. A surrogacy lawyer is an irreplaceable part of your surrogacy team, as you cannot legally or ethically complete the process without one. Surrogacy involves a complicated legal process, including taking steps to protect yourself and the other surrogacy party from risks and liabilities, protecting the intended parents’ parental rights and more. You will need a surrogacy attorney if you hope to become parents through surrogacy or help create a family as a surrogate.
Fortunately, there are many assisted reproductive technology (or ART) attorneys who are experienced and ready to help you complete your process. In fact, if you work with a surrogacy agency, your professionals may even refer you to a surrogacy attorney that they commonly use. As always, the final choice will be up to you, but know that there are plenty of options available to you.
What do I Need to Know About Surrogacy Lawyers?
Whether you’re completing a surrogacy with or without an agency, you will need to find a surrogacy attorney for the legal aspects of your surrogacy process. It’s important to know that if you choose to pursue an independent surrogacy with the goal of only using a surrogacy lawyer and a fertility clinic, surrogacy lawyers rarely provide any additional services outside of legal assistance.
The legal services that they do provide are:
Drafting and finalizing the surrogacy contract, which protects the rights of both intended parents and prospective surrogates and addresses important issues like parental rights and surrogate compensation
Ensuring that any pre- or post-birth parentage orders are effective and helping to place the intended parents’ names on the baby’s birth certificate
Navigating state-specific surrogacy laws for where you and the other party of the surrogacy live
If you’re looking for case management or matching services, a surrogacy attorney will not be able to provide those services. Instead, you’ll want to work with a surrogacy agency, which can refer you to a surrogacy attorney (many times at a discounted, flat-rate charge instead of the hourly rate charged in independent surrogacies). While your attorney will work closely with you to complete the legal process of your surrogacy, they will likely have other cases, as well, and may not be able to devote the one-on-one support you may desire from your primary surrogacy professional.
However, surrogacy attorneys will handle all the legalities of your surrogacy and will do it thoroughly. As long as you choose the right surrogacy attorney for your process, you can be reassured that your rights and interests will be protected.
How do I Find a Surrogacy Attorney?
There are many surrogacy lawyers available to you, but you will usually want to delay choosing one until you are matched with a prospective surrogate or intended parent. Usually, the laws of the state where the surrogate lives will determine the legal process needed to complete the surrogacy.
Each party in the surrogacy will need their own lawyer to protect their interests. This is a key part of drafting a surrogate agreement that is fair to both the surrogate and the intended parent. But, with so many ART attorneys available, how do you choose one that’s right for you?
There are many factors to consider when choosing a surrogacy attorney, so you’ll need to decide what’s most important to you — and then seek out an attorney that meets those expectations. Like when you’re choosing other surrogacy professionals, make sure to research as much as possible and take the time to ask questions, like:
How many surrogacy cases did you handle last year? Since you’ve started working in the surrogacy field?
What is your experience in the ART field?
Can you still work with us if we live in (state)?
What kind of attention will you give our case, especially in time-sensitive matters?
How much does your average surrogacy cost, and what services does that include?
What services are outsourced, and how will that affect our overall cost?
You are not obligated to choose an attorney until you’re sure that they’re right for you. You can find a local, experienced surrogacy lawyer by searching the lawyer database in the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys. If you end up working with an agency, you’ll also receive referrals for experienced surrogacy attorneys — and that agency may also coordinate the legal process on your behalf.
The professionals at American Surrogacy understand how complicated the surrogacy process can be, which is why we take steps to make it as easy as possible for you. We can help by referring you to surrogacy attorneys that we commonly work with and trust to thoroughly handle your legal process and protect your rights. We’ll also help coordinate the legal process with them, using our knowledge of the surrogacy process to make sure every step is properly taken care of. To learn more about how we help connect you with the right surrogacy attorney, please feel free to contact us today and discuss your individual surrogacy circumstances and needs.