Safeguarding Rights Of Donors, Surrogates Or Intended Parents

How surrogacy agreements work in California

California is known as one of the most welcoming states in the country when it comes to pregnancy surrogacy law. Indeed, would-be parents from around the world come here to arrange their agreements. Our state code recognizes that parents and surrogates each need legal protections to minimize future misunderstandings, and hopefully prevent them from becoming legal disputes.

What is an assisted reproduction agreement?

An assisted reproduction agreement assisted reproduction agreement is a contract that the surrogate mother and the intended parent(s) enter into. According to California law, the agreement must be signed and notarized before the surrogate starts medications or has an embryo transfer. It also contains detailed information about the proposed surrogacy, such as

  • The identity or identities of the egg or sperm donors, if different than the parent or parents, or if they are anonymous
  • A disclosure of how the intended parents will cover the surrogate’s and the child’s medical expenses

The assisted reproduction agreement is a separate process from an action to establish parental rights for the intended parents. An assisted reproduction agreement must be completed and executed before the surrogate starts medications or has an embryo transfer, the establishment of parental rights process starts once the surrogate is confirmed pregnant and has completed her first trimester. Both steps are needed in the surrogacy process.

Why you need your own lawyer

Keep in mind that the intended parents should have their own attorney, as does the surrogate. This is also a requirement of California law. Though you are collaborating on a family plan, not negotiating a business deal, each party nevertheless needs to consider their own interests. For example, the surrogate is the one undertaking the actual surrogate pregnancy and delivery of the baby. It is vital that all possible medical contingencies are considered. Will the parents’ insurance pay the surrogate’s medical costs? What input, if any, will the parents have on the surrogate’s delivery plan?

These are issues you can work out in your agreement. But to avoid misunderstandings and exploitation, everyone involved must receive independent legal advice. You deserve to get an honest explanation of your legal rights, and have an advocate to negotiate fair terms for you.