With more than 6 million American women struggling with infertility, even after numerous treatments, surrogacy is becoming a more popular option. Although surrogacy is a wonderful choice, it is not one that should be made without serious thought. The following looks at who would benefit from hiring a surrogate, as well as whom they should contact for legal advice prior to finalizing an agreement, and what could potentially complicate the situation.
Who Should Use a Surrogate?
Occasionally referred to as a gestational carrier, a surrogate carries and gives birth to a baby for a couple unable to have their own. In most cases, the couple’s IVF embryos are implanted into couple, so the baby is their biological child. Surrogacy is an alternative when a woman is:
– Unable to get pregnant
– Unable to safely carry a child
– Able to get pregnant, but unable to carry the infant to term
– At risk of serious complications from pregnancy, including death
Who Should You Consult Before Proceeding With Surrogacy?
Surrogacy laws vary from state to state, so it is crucial that both the potential parents and the potential surrogate seek legal advice prior to entering into any agreement. It’s important to know that surrogacy is illegal in some states. Typically, a qualified family law or adoption lawyer with experience in surrogacy is the most qualified person to obtain advice from.
Going through a surrogacy agency is another option. In addition to drafting legal contracts, they provide a variety of additional services, including assistance selecting a surrogate, picking an IVF clinic, and making travel arrangements.
Potential Problems Experienced with Surrogacy
Although the number of children carried by a surrogate is increasing, there are potential problems, especially in regards to legalities. Most surrogacy contracts provide stipulations on what a surrogate can and cannot do during the pregnancy. If the surrogate breaches the contract, it can result in animosity that makes the dynamics of the relationship very complicated and uncomfortable.
There is always the potential that a surrogate mother may experience a change of heart and refuse to give up her rights to the child. This is why legal counseling is so important. Usually, a contract is drawn up to prevent this from happening; however there is always the chance the surrogate mother might win her case if she chooses to go to court.
Medical complications, involving either the surrogate or the baby, could result in significant issues. For example, if it discovered the fetus has potential birth defects, the parents and surrogate may disagree on whether or not to continue with pregnancy. On the other hand, if the surrogate begins to experience complications early in the pregnancy, she may have a desire to end it, while the parents disagree with her decision. The question of who gets to decide how to proceed with the pregnancy can be difficult and may require legal action.
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