You’ve chosen to pursue surrogacy. Check. You’ve selected your fertility clinic and successfully passed all the screening requirements. Double check. You’ve even been matched with your perfect gestational carrier. Triple check. It feels like you have all your ducks in a row, right? Almost. Only one more piece stands between you and your dream of parenthood. It is, arguably, the most important aspect of the whole process -- the surrogacy contract.The purpose of a surrogacy contract is to ensure that everyone’s best interests are kept in mind, and all agreements are seen through to the end. It also provides any and all legal protection that is needed. But, creating a full surrogacy contract isn’t something that you can just download off the Internet and call good. There are many pieces to it that can be tricky and confusing. So, don’t try and attempt this feat yourself. Instead, arrange a meeting with your attorney, and have them tackle the task.
To make the process level arduous, any and all input you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Here is a glimpse into what the process of creating your full surrogacy contract could look like.
1. Decide What Type of Surrogacy
One of the many questions your attorney will ask is what type of surrogacy you’ve decided to use. There are two different options -- traditional or gestational -- and each have their own set of pros and cons. Your attorney will want to make sure you fully understand which one you chose, and how it’s the best choice for you and your family.
2. Find a Gestational Carrier
Then, your gestational carrier may be asked to join in on a meeting, so that the attorney can hear any and all wishes and requirements she has. To learn how you all were matched, and to gather all important details pertaining to the overall agreement. This will help ensure that everyone is kept accountable and on the same page. That no one is trying to alter anything previously discussed.
3. Meet with Your Attorney / Legal Counsel
In one of your beginning sessions, your attorney will no doubt guide you through a checklist of everything that is needed for the full surrogacy contract. Details related to you, your partner or spouse, medical and health information, and more will all be brought to the able. Information regarding insurance, confidentially and governing law will also be discussed. Make sure that you voice any and all questions or concerns you have throughout the process, so nothing is left in a gray area for you. It’s essential that you understand everything related to your agreement, as it will help lessen any future issues or potential conflicts of interest.
4. Draft Agreement
After everything has been gathered, your attorney will draft your surrogacy contract. All legal aspects, payment arrangements, hospital plans -- anything and everything related -- will be included. Once that is complete, you’ll be invited back in for a review.
5. Review and Revise
Your full surrogacy contract drafted. Read it over carefully. More than once if you have to. How does it look? Are there any errors? Any details that got left out, or weren’t worded correctly? Now would be the time to point those out.
6. Sign and Date Agreement
With a smile, your attorney hands you a pen and points out the places you are required to sign throughout the surrogacy contract. You look to your partner or spouse with eager anticipation, and are met with an encouraging squeeze of the hand. Your gestational carrier sits nearby, equally excited. Giving the document a final look through, you lower your hand and begin signing. Just like that -- your surrogacy journey has officially begun!
Steps to a Full Surrogacy Contract
Remember that the full surrogacy contract doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll want to allow yourself plenty of time to get everything adequately prepared. From the moment you’re matched, through drafting to the final copy, expect a minimum of four weeks. This may seem like a painful amount of time to wait, but it’s worth it. You can’t complete your surrogacy journey without it, and wouldn’t want to.
Your surrogacy contract ensures that everything goes smoothly. That all the i’s get dotted and t’s crossed. It also removes the stress of the legal aspects out of the day-to-day journey. It allows you to focus on enjoying every moment of your child’s growth, while building a lifelong relationship with your gestational carrier.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history as an adoptee, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Virginia Frank.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and a book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.