Surrogacy is a growing phenomenon in the United States, as parents seek alternative ways to conceive and people come together to create a child. It can be a beautiful system that results in the joyful birth of a child to a well-deserving couple; or, without the right safeguards in place, surrogacy can become very complicated.
Surrogate mothers and intended parents alike need to ensure that they enter into a surrogacy agreement with the help of an established and reputable surrogacy agency. The agency should assist in creating a comprehensive legal contract that specifically defines the choices, results, and consequences of any potential situation.
The Importance of Finding the Right Agency
Whether you are planning to be a surrogate mother or an intended parent, choosing the right surrogacy agency to guide you through the process will make all the difference in your journey. A surrogacy agreement has so many moving parts and unpredictable variables that it’s immensely helpful to know an expert has everything planned out and under control.
Your surrogacy agency will assist in every aspect of surrogacy, including the matching process, physical and mental screenings, fertility clinic, insurance arrangements, fee payments, and legal processes. All of these steps are of paramount importance to ensure that the surrogate mother and intended parents will work well together and uphold their ends of the agreement.
Barbara and David, a couple from Pennsylvania, discovered this in a heartbreaking experience. Their surrogate mother kept their child after she was born. Though the couple did utilize a legal contract with their surrogate, Jamie, there was no agency involved to check Jamie’s background or emotional state. In the end, Jamie lied about the details of her life and fell out of contact with Barbara and David, not even contacting them when their child was born.
Their little girl, Kaylee Grace, is now seven years old, and Barbara and David have spent nearly $100,000 in legal fees trying to win full legal custody. It’s a nightmare situation that is difficult to even comprehend, and it could have been avoided with the help of an agency’s expertise and legal guidelines.
The Vital Nature of a Surrogacy Contract
Reading a surrogacy contract can be difficult, not just for the legal jargon but because the contract outlines all of the “What if?” situations that no parent wants to ever consider. However, when it comes to surrogacy, practicality is required in order to guarantee a smooth journey for all.
A surrogacy contract will cover everything, from whether organic food is reimbursable to who pays insurance copays and the most sensitive issue of when terminating the pregnancy would be appropriate.
It is the legal contract that dictates decisions during difficult situations, so it is nothing short of imperative that the contract is written by a professional with extensive expertise in the area of surrogacy. This is one of the most important roles of a surrogacy agency, to ensure that all paired surrogate mothers and intended parents have a contract on which to rely throughout the entire surrogacy process.
Susan Ring experienced the power of her surrogacy contract when she was serving as a surrogate for a couple expecting twins. Susan had originally become pregnant with triplets, but the intended parents asked her to reduce to twins. Though Susan did not want to abort one of the babies, she had no option since the intended parents threatened to sue her for breach of contract if she refused. Susan aborted the baby reluctantly, but more issues occurred as the pregnancy continue.
The couple ultimately divorced and declared that they were not only out of money, but they did not want their twins at all. Indeed, the intended parents did not attend the twins’ birth, and shortly thereafter social services arrived at the hospital to take the children into foster care. Susan immediately filed a lawsuit for breach of contract against the intended parents, who quickly agreed to surrender their parental rights if Susan dropped her lawsuit.
In the end, Susan found a loving family to adopt the twins, who she still keeps in touch with 14 years later. Had it not been for the legal contract in place, the twins could have ended up as foster children for a long time before finding a place to call home.
As the experiences of Barbara, David, and Susan prove, finding a skilled surrogacy agency and securing an in-depth legal contract are two vital steps to ensuring a smooth surrogacy journey with a happy ending.