Thinking about becoming a family via gestational carrier? Surrogacy can be a wonderful way for many couples and individuals to become parents. Surrogacy, however, also represents a complex legal process, so it’s crucial to educate yourself before moving ahead. Here are five things you need to know:
The difference between Traditional vs. Gestational Surrogacy
In traditional surrogacy, the child is biologically related to the carrier. In gestational surrogacy, the child is genetically related to the father and the intended mother or egg donor, but not the surrogate. Let’s take a closer look:
Traditional surrogacy. The surrogate mother is artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm and carries the baby to term. Traditional surrogacy poses more legal issues than gestational surrogacy because the child is biologically related to the surrogate.
Gestational surrogacy. The egg is removed from the intended mother or donor, fertilized with the father’s sperm, then implanted in the carrier’s uterus. The child is then related to the father and egg donor, but not the surrogate.
New Jersey Gestational Surrogacy Law
The New Jersey Gestational Carrier Act, passed in 2018, provides for enforceable gestational carrier agreements (gestational surrogacy in which the carrier’s egg is not used). Courts will grant pre-birth parentage orders that designate both parents as legal parents as long as one of them is genetically related to the child.
Important to Note: This act specifically excludes traditional surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy agreements are not legally enforceable. If a traditional surrogacy agreement is still used by parties, essentially, the intended parents must wait until after the baby is born to formally adopt the child.
Consult with a Reproductive Attorney
All parties need a lawyer to protect their interests and draft documents. The role of the attorney is to understand the legality of surrogacy contracts and to establish parental rights. It’s imperative that your attorney assist you with the birth certificate so that there is no confusion about the identity of the intended parents. Your attorney can also advise you about options in the event of an abnormal pregnancy.
Look for a family law attorney with experience in reproductive rights.
Use a Reputable Agency
You may be tempted to enter into a private arrangement with a carrier because it’s less expensive than using an agency. However, an agency will do a more thorough job screening applicants and will help match you with appropriate candidates. Agencies look for carriers who meet the following qualifications:
- Prior pregnancies were full-term and free of complications.
- Is in good physical and mental health.
- Is under the age of 43.
- Has a stable living situation.
- Does not smoke or abuse alcohol or drugs.
Form a Strong Surrogacy Team
Besides your reproductive attorney, you will be working with other professionals: medical specialists, fertility insurance experts, and mental health professionals to screen the surrogate and support the intended parents through the process of surrogacy.
Considering surrogacy and want to understand your legal rights and fulfill your legal requirements for representation? Come in a for a free consultation. Our highly qualified family law attorneys can provide you with the legal guidance you need to create a strong agreement, whether you are the intended parents or gestational carrier.
Call us at 888-888-0919 or please click the button below.