The Surrogacy Journey in California involves many important steps, from finding the ideal Surrogate Mother, to the medical process, to initiating the legal process, to signing the very important Surrogacy Agreement, with the end goal of all involved in the process being the Intended Parents going home with their child(ren). It is important that the steps in the journey are done appropriately and in the correct order so the Intended Parents can be acknowledged as the legal parents of the child(ren). The Legal process is one of the most important, as it assists the Intended Parents in establishing legal parentage rights for the baby. The correct legal paperwork must be submitted to the courts and the proper processes completed in order for the Intended Parents to be legally acknowledged as the legal parents of the child(ren).
Masler Surrogacy Law represents International Intended Parents from all around the world and Intended Parents in all parts of the United States who are involved in California Surrogacy arrangements. Masler Surrogacy Law has experience in many judicial venues in California including Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Francisco.
Part of the Legal processes involves the attorney preparing legal documents, referred to as the Pre-Birth Order documents, for the courts to review. Most Surrogacy Attorneys wait until the second trimester before submitting Pre-Birth Order documents to the courts. This timing is favored as it can take the courts time to review and process the paperwork. The courts can take four weeks and in some cases longer to issue the Pre-Birth Order. Also, it is better to begin the process as early as possible as mistakes or errors in the paperwork can be fixed in time and well ahead of childbirth.
Below are the general steps in the Surrogacy Journey, from the match to the birth. The legal process is usually started before the match and in some cases the Journey can begin with the Surrogacy Attorney due to the complexity of the case.
The first step is to be matched with a suitable Surrogate Mother. Intended Parents will review Surrogate candidates, discuss their preferences, verify all the information provided by the Surrogate and also provide their own information to share with the Surrogate Mother. Both the Intended Parents and the Surrogate have equal rights to turn each other down. When the Intended Parents and the Surrogate feel that they have a great match, the psychological, medical and legal processes are started.
In the second step, both the Intended Parents and Surrogate Mother generally undergo psychological evaluations to confirm mental health and general well-being. The psychological evaluation involves exploring the background, suitability, motivation or the reason behind becoming a Surrogate and all other relevant details that will help the Intended Parents understand the Surrogate better. The psychological evaluation is not a one-time exercise. If needed, the evaluation will be conducted again through pregnancy and after the birth of the child(ren).
Intended Parents must also be evaluated to assess if they are in a sound state of mind to welcome and care for a child. While the financial and professional profiles of the Intended Parents will be a matter for the Surrogate to assess, the psychological health of the Intended Parents is not.
Following the psychological evaluation, Surrogates will undergo a thorough medical checkup. The IVF physician will conduct medical tests they deem necessary to assess if the Surrogate is healthy to carry a baby and if the baby will be safe along with the Surrogate Mother through pregnancy. Only after an approval from the physician would the Surrogacy process be initiated.
The third step is the Legal process. This is generally set in motion when the Surrogate Mother and the Intended Parents are medically and psychologically cleared. The Legal process is two pronged. One deals with the agreement including the finances. The other deals with the Intended Parents becoming the legal parents of the child(ren) and the Surrogate renouncing her parental rights.
Both the Surrogate and the Intended Parents must have separate legal representation for the Surrogacy agreement, as required by California Law. The Intended Parents and the Surrogate Mother both review the legal agreement thoroughly to ensure that they understand the terms and what is being asked from one another. Once the Agreement is notarized and signed, the medical processes, including the injectable medication & the embryo transfer cycle can commence.
The Intended Parents are generally expected to pay for all the medical expenses before and throughout the pregnancy. The Intended Parents also pay the Surrogate’s health and life insurance premiums throughout the journey and for a few months after the birth or until she is cleared by her doctor. All of these funds are deposited in a trust escrow account which is managed by a licensed attorney or bonded escrow company, as required by California Law.
The Surrogacy Attorney provides the hospital with a copy of the Pre-Birth Order after it is issued by the Court. After delivery, the Intended Parents’ names are placed on the birth certificate and after a few days are allowed to go home with their child(ren).
The overall goal of all of these important steps is to ensure a successful Surrogacy Journey for both the Surrogate Mother and the Intended Parents. California Law continuously changes and this is done to ensure the health and well-being of all involved, the Surrogate, the Intended Parents and the child(ren). It is important to have legal representation who understands all the steps in the journey and who keeps up with these changes in laws and procedures in order to ensure a successful outcome.