A typical surrogacy arrangement is a two-part legal process. When Intended Parent(s) and a Surrogate enter a surrogacy arrangement, they must do so voluntarily. A complete Surrogacy Contract expressly reflects the rights, responsibilities, and risks as understood and agreed by Intended Parent(s) and Surrogate. The Surrogacy Contract is essentially a document of the parties’ intentions to voluntarily enter a surrogacy arrangement, which will later be a necessary component for obtaining a Pre-birth Order.
Once you have decided to retain our office to represent you in your upcoming surrogacy journey, the following will happen:
1. You will receive a retainer agreement for review with explanations of our office’s services and fees. If you approve, please sign and send it back to our office along with payment of fees through a selected method of payment.
2. Depending if you are entering a surrogacy arrangement with a Surrogate independently or through an agency, the procedures may be a little different:
a. If you are entering an independent surrogacy arrangement, we will send you a questionnaire to complete for us to properly prepare the Surrogacy Contract.
b. If you are entering an surrogacy arrangement through an agency, we will work with the agency to obtain the match information to properly prepare the Surrogacy Contract.
3. Once the draft Surrogacy Contract is prepared, we will schedule a preliminary review with you to go over the Contract and to answer any questions you may have. Any of your desired revisions may be made during the review as well.
4. After the initial draft is approved by by you, we will send the draft to the Surrogate’s attorney for his/her review with the Surrogate. The Surrogate may request revisions to the Surrogacy Contract. We will advise you regarding the requested revisions and negotiate on your behalf to finalize the Surrogacy Contract.
5. Once both parties have agreed on the final version of the Surrogacy Contract, it is ready for signatures. We will issue legal clearance to the IVF Clinic signifying that both parties are now legally clear to proceed with further medical procedures.
Note: Notarization is required when signing the Surrogacy Contract, see the next question for more about notarization.
Notarization is required for both parties when signing the final Surrogacy Contract. Depending on where the Intended Parents are located, notarization can become an issue:
1. Domestic Parents: If you are located in the U.S., it is typically easy to locate a local notary public to officiate the notarization. It is not necessary to use a notary in the same state as any in-person notary public in the U.S. will suffice for the notarization requirement. Please consult our office if you intend to use an online notary as some restrictions may apply.
2. International Parents: If you are located abroad, there are several options:
a. Notarization at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
b. Notarization via an online U.S. notary (some restrictions may apply).
c. Notarization by a notary public licensed by the government of your country (certain restrictions may apply).
The total time required for a final Surrogacy Contract from preparation to issuing legal clearance varies, but it normally ranges from 3 to 4 weeks. Once we have received your signed retainer agreement and the information necessary to prepare the Surrogacy Contract, we typically provide a first draft for your review within 3 – 5 days. Other factors include the time required for the Surrogate to review with her attorney, any potential negotiation, and notarization.
We charge a flat fee for preparing, reviewing, and negotiating the Surrogacy Contract on your behalf. Please contact our office for our standard fee schedules.
Note: The Intended Parents are responsible for paying the Surrogate’s legal fees.
Yes, the Surrogate must be represented by an independent counsel of her choosing. We highly recommend that the Surrogate select an attorney experienced in the field of reproductive law.
While you are welcome to and we would love to have you be in the office, it will not be necessary. Almost all communications are conducted via phone, fax, mail, and email.