Thinking of building a family via gestational surrogacy? Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to help you start successfully navigating this complex process.
Note: our steps refer to the process of gestational surrogacy and hiring a gestational surrogate. Gestational surrogacy involves the process of transferring a fertilized embryo to the surrogate (also know as a gestational carrier). The surrogate’s own eggs are not used. This is the surrogacy process that is legal under New Jersey law.
Find your surrogate
There are two means of choosing a gestational surrogate. The first, and least expensive, is to find one on your own via:
- Surrogacy matching classified ads.
- Online surrogacy matching groups.
- Asking family and friends for referrals.
The second method is to hire a “matching professional.” This person, or program, will:
- Locate a surrogate in New Jersey or from a different state with similar gestational carrier laws.
- Screen possible candidates.
- Provide information about the process and emotional support.
Medical fertility specialists and attorneys experienced in reproductive law can refer you to a matching program.
Draw up a gestational surrogacy agreement.
You will need to consult with a family law attorney to prepare an agreement between you, the intended parents, and the surrogate. The agreement should specify that:
- The surrogate agrees to go through the embryo transfer, attempt to carry and birth the child, and relinquish the child to the intended parents immediately after birth.
- The intended parents agree to become the legal parents immediately after birth and assume sole responsibility for the child.
The agreement may include other items, such as covering reasonable expenses for the gestational surrogate.
Obtain a pre-birth parentage order.
Your reproductive attorney will prepare your pre-birth parentage order. In this order, the court will determine:
- Legal parentage.
- Language that specifies the parents’ names to include on the birth certificate.
- Language that specifies that the hospital will treat the intended parents as the sole parents.
Typically, a pre-birth parentage order is drafted when a surrogate is three months pregnant to ensure that there’s enough time to obtain the order before the baby is born.
Make plans for the birth.
Ensure that the hospital has the pre-parentage order well before delivery so you will be allowed in the delivery room and will be given hospital bracelets for access to the baby. The hospital also needs to know that you, not the surrogate, will make any medical decisions for the child.
You will also want to educate yourself about your employer’s family leave plan. How much paid leave, if any, will you have? Surrogacy is not explicitly mentioned in the federal Family Medial Leave Act; however, it does state that an employee may take leave for “the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth,” according to the United States Department of Labor website. Check to see if the FMLA applies in your workplace.
Understand your child’s unique issues.
How will you explain to your child that they developed in the uterus of a woman to whom they are not genetically related? Consult with a therapist who specializes in fertility issues, or join an intended parent support group, so you can understand your child’s unique issues, and how best to address them.
Also be aware that your child’s relationship to their birth story will change as they enter adolescence, a time when all teenagers try to figure out who they are and where they belong.
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.