For those who decide that surrogacy is the right option for building a family, it is important to obtain legal services throughout the surrogacy process.
An attorney needs to be retained to create a contract between the intended parents and the surrogate, often referred to as the surrogacy agreement. IVF (in vitro fertilization) clinics require a surrogacy agreement to be in place prior to beginning any medical procedures. The purpose of the contract is to answer many of the questions that may arise during pregnancy such as who will have custody of the child if something were to happen to the intended parents prior to the birth. The contract is not only in place in the event of a dispute, but can also prevent disputes from occurring by laying out all of the intricacies of the process beforehand.
Subsequently, legal service will be needed to obtain a court order declaring that the intended parents are the sole legal parent(s) and that the surrogate has no parental or legal rights or obligations. The court order will also direct the department of Vital Records to issue a birth certificate placing the intended parents’ name(s) on the certificate. Depending on the state this can be done near the end of the second trimester so that it is in place before the birth.