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Legal Questions about the Gestational Surrogacy Process

Whether you set it up through an agency or as an independent adoption, or negotiate it privately, using a gestational surrogate is an emotionally intense and legally complex arrangement that involves having another woman carry and deliver your baby for you. Read below some of the most common questions about gestational surrogacy that have been asked to Family Lawyers on JustAnswer.

What is gestational surrogacy?

Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person. This woman, the surrogate mother, may be the child's genetic mother (called traditional surrogacy), or she may be biologically unrelated to the child (called gestational surrogacy).

How does the gestational surrogacy process work?

The gestational surrogacy process and procedure is similar to in vitro fertilization: after the intended mother's ovaries have been stimulated, the eggs are aspirated, inseminated with sperm from the intended father, incubated and one or more of the resulting embryos are subsequently transferred into the surrogate's uterus. At this point in the process, expectant mothers keep their fingers crossed and hope for impregnation.

What would a woman have to do to become a gestational surrogate?

To become a gestational surrogate, there are usually initial screenings and interviews, medical and psychological testing. The next steps are gestational surrogacy fertility treatments. This is done to make sure that that the gestational carrier responds to the necessary medications involved in the IVF process and to synchronize their cycle with that of the egg donor. The final stage is pregnancy and delivery. Often, travel may also be required depending upon where the surrogate mother lives and where the intended parent lives opposed to where the IVF center or physician is located. If you want to become a surrogate but have legal questions, you can ask Family Lawyers on JustAnswer to answer your surrogacy related questions quickly and affordably.

What is the most common gestational surrogate compensation?

There are no set gestational surrogacy compensation prices. However, gestational carriers and surrogates are customarily compensated on average between $20,000 and $30,000 for their time and effort (the amount is determined to some extent by whether they are a repeat surrogate) with all travel and out-of-pocket expenses covered and provisions made in the legal agreement for any necessary bed rest costs.

How does a gestational surrogacy contract legally protect the surrogate mother?

A surrogacy contract is a legal agreement that details the parties' rights, obligations, intentions and expectations. The agreement will be a road map so to speak, of everything that the process and both parties will go through. It will specifically address parental rights, custody, location of delivery, future contact between the parties, and health insurance. In addition, the agreement will cover who makes medical decisions and how those decisions will be made during a pregnancy, payment of medical bills, liability for medical complications, financial considerations such as the gestational carrier/surrogate's compensation and expenses including lost wages, legal fees, child care, housekeeping, and maternity clothes, coverage for life insurance, the need to provide medical history and personal medical information, continued contact through the process, and intended parents' presence during doctor visits and the delivery. The main thing to remember is that, the agreement is case-specific and should be drafted on a case by case basis, in a way that you will clearly understand all obligations and considerations, and where both parties are in agreement.

Many times surrogate mothers or couples that wish to use a surrogate donor will face adversity and will have to answer many questions from friends and family on why they choose to be a surrogate. There are many reasons one may choose to become a surrogate mother, or why someone would choose to use a surrogate; homosexuality, female infertility, other medical issues which make pregnancy or delivery impossible, or a single person wishing to have their own biological child are just a few reasons. If you are thinking of using a surrogate or becoming a surrogate, you need to make sure you are in a surrogate friendly state because surrogacy is not legal in all states. You would also need to ensure that the surrogacy contract safeguards your best interests. If you are not sure about the laws of the state you reside or need help or second opinion on your surrogacy contract, you can contact Family Lawyers on JustAnswer for helpful insight to your toughest legal questions.
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