If you are having trouble conceiving and you might be thinking about finding a surrogate mother to help you create a child, it might not have occurred to you that there is a legal dimension to the process. Yes, surrogacy is primarily a medical process involving clinics, labs and doctors and nurses.
But there are also legal implications, because you are entering into an activity with other people. Having a baby on your own as a couple is a fairly straightforward matter, but as soon as you involve one or two other people into the process, things start to get complicated.
Here in Florida, the laws are progressive and comprehensive, so there is much more clarity than seeking a surrogate in most other places. And one of the provisions of Florida State law is that the intended parents and the surrogate mother must sign a contract before they can begin the process.
What does the contract do for you?
First, it makes sure that both parties are fully aware of their rights and their responsibilities. By signing the contract, there is no way that either party can profess that, “I didn’t know…” If for no other reason, the contract is worthwhile to parents because it ensures that the surrogate mother has officially agreed to the terms you had informally agreed to.
Second, the contract ensures that the surrogate mother is bound to the agreement that you have set up with her. It gives you legal protection. A crucial clause for you, the parents, would be one worded something like this:
“The Surrogate declares that she does not desire to create a parental relationship with any child born pursuant to this Agreement. She further recognizes that any child conceived pursuant to this Agreement is contractually and morally the child of the Intended Parents, and that it is in the child’s best interest to be raised by the Intended Parents without any interference or contact by her or her Husband, and without any assertion by her or her Husband of any parental rights.”
Third, it gives the surrogate mother security, and that is important to you. Remember that she is carrying your baby, so that last thing you want is some disagreement over the terms that might leave her feeling uneasy or even upset. You want her to be happy, so that you baby develops well from an early age.
Fourth, it’s the law. That might not seem like much of a benefit, but it is. Having a contract is the ante you have to put in to play. So if you want a woman to gestate your baby for you, a contract is a must.
There can be a lot of emotional ambiguity in a surrogacy situation, which is why it is so important to have a contract that specifically lays out each party’s rights and responsibilities. It is in the parents’ interest to ensure that the contract is complete and clear on every point.Return to Blog