Surrogacy can be complicated – emotionally, medically and financially. Great care must be taken to address all of these issues as a couple starts to navigate the path to parenthood. Perhaps the most important item to tackle when starting on this journey is having some understanding of surrogacy law and a sound contract written between all parties.
There are two types of surrogacy that are generally discussed – Traditional Surogacy and Gestational Surrogacy. Traditional Surrogacy is when the surrogate is also used as the egg donor. This often occurs because the Intended Mother cannot produce eggs, and the Intended Father’s sperm is used to inseminated the surrogate. The surrogate is the biological mother of the resulting baby, and the Intended Father is the biological father.
Gestational Surrogacy removes the biological connection of the surrogate. In this type of surrogacy, the Intended Mother’s or Egg Donor’s eggs are fertilized with the Intended Father’s sperm. The resulting embryos are then placed back into the Gestational Surrogate’s uterus.
Surrogacy laws vary from state-to-state, ranging from states that are very friendly to Gestational Surrogacy (California and Texas) to those where surrogacy contracts may not be upheld in a court of law (Louisiana) or where compensated surrogacy is illegal (misdemeanor offense – Washington). Although our firm does not work with Traditional Surrogates (TS contracts are not illegal, but contracts are not upheld by Texas Courts, if tested), we are very fortunate to work in a state that supports compensated Gestational Surrogacy contracts. Intended Parents can even live outside the state as long as the Gestational Surrogate is a Texas resident. However, Texas surrogacy law only addresses married, heterosexual couples. Single or same-sex couples may still be able to proceed with surrogacy, they just may not have full protection under House Bill 729. It’s very important in these situations to work with an attorney that experienced writing these types of contracts.
Once a pregnancy is achieved, the next hurdle to cross is establishment of the “pre-birth” order. The pre-birth orders is executed around 20 weeks of pregnancy, and establishes the Intended Parents as the rightful parents of the baby(ies) born to the surrogate. By using a pre-birth order, there is no need for adoption or subsequent legal work.
3 Sisters Surrogacy works with a number of excellent attorneys that have much experience in writing gestational contracts. We provide all of our clients a referral list so that they can choose an attorney that’s right for them.