Safeguarding Rights Of Donors, Surrogates Or Intended Parents

How to establish legal parentage as a gestational surrogate in California

Intentionally establishing legal parentage is necessary in order to protect the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved, and to ensure that the law recognizes the intended legal parents of the child from the moment of birth.

California has been a leader in compensated gestational surrogacy. Indeed, in 2020 when the state of New York considered changing its law, they used California’s law as a part of their report. 

Here is the process that you will need to follow to establish legal parentage.

1. Create a gestational surrogacy agreement

This agreement should outline the terms and conditions of the surrogacy arrangement, including the rights and responsibilities of all parties. It is important to have the agreement independently reviewed by separate attorneys and approved to avoid messy questions down the road. It is also important to follow the requirements set out in California Family Code Section 7962 to avoid problems in getting the pre-birth order from the court.

2. Obtain a pre-birth parentage order

This is a court order stating that the intended parents will be the legal parents of the child from the moment of birth. The pre-birth order also tells the hospital and vital records how to fill out the child’s birth certificate with the intended parents’ names as the child’s parents. To obtain a pre-birth parentage order, you will need to file a petition with the court and attend a hearing in some cases.

3. Obtain a birth certificate

After the child is born, the intended parents will request a birth certificate listing them as the child’s legal parents as stated in the pre-birth order.

Be sure to rely on a trusted expert in every step of the process as this particular avenue of adoption is highly complex.