Some women love being pregnant. They may not have a lot of morning sickness, have experienced no serious pregnancy complications before and enjoy feeling another life grow inside of them. If you are lucky enough to experience pregnancy in this way, you may consider becoming a surrogate at some point. You think you would find great satisfaction and meaning in helping a couple create their own family.
Yet, you know becoming a surrogate is a huge commitment. You also wonder about the legal implications that come with it. Will you have parental rights to the child you carry when the baby is born?
Surrogacy and parental rights
One of the most important aspects of surrogacy is working with an attorney as you participate in this process. If you are participating in traditional surrogacy, you are the egg donor for the child you are carrying. Yet as part of your surrogacy contract with the intended parents, you will relinquish parental rights to the child when the baby is born.
If you are a gestational surrogate, you are carrying a child conceived of the intended mother’s egg (or a donor egg) and the intended father’s sperm (or donor sperm). You have no genetic connection to the child and therefore don’t have any parental rights to the child. However, you will still have to relinquish parental rights to the child during the pre-birth order process. Gestational surrogacy has become the most common form of surrogacy because it makes it more difficult for a surrogate to establish parental rights to a child.
Completing a pre-birth order
In California, you and the child’s intended parents can complete a pre-birth order, which will declare the intended parents as the legal parents of the child you are carrying. With a completed pre-birth order, the intended parents’ names will be added to the child’s birth certificate when the baby is born. That further cements their parental rights to the child.
When working through the surrogacy process, taking care of important legal details, like establishing parental rights for the intended parents, is important. Both you and the intended parents don’t want to face any unexpected challenges during surrogacy and you want to be careful to ensure you complete what you initially intended: helping a couple establish their own family.