If you are a married couple looking to bring a child into your life but cannot conceive yourselves, you may be a candidate for gestational surrogacy.
Gestational surrogacy is a legally recognized process and alternative to traditional child birth. A couple contracts with a woman (also known as a “surrogate”) who will give birth to a child. The couple will use their own sperm and/or egg, with or without donated genetic materials, to create a fertilized egg. The fertilized egg will then be transferred to the surrogate. There is no biological connection between the surrogate and the fertilized egg. This means that the surrogate has no legal rights to the child that is born. The couple quickly become the legal parents to the newborn child.
Gestational Surrogacy Contract
Prior to the fertilized egg being implanted into the surrogate, the couple enters into a contract with the surrogate. The contract affirms that the couple cannot have a child, either due to physical impossibility or because it could harm the life of the fetus or mother. In the contract, the surrogate agrees to submit to reasonable medical evaluations and follow medical instructions while pregnant.
Further the surrogate agrees that, upon the child’s birth, the surrogate will relinquish any right to the child and allow the couple to go through a court process affirming their parental status. The only exception to this agreement is if it turns out that there is no genetic relation between the couple and the newborn baby.
A Surrogate has No Rights to the Child
Though many commissioning couples are afraid that a surrogate will not give up the child once born, Florida’s laws protect against that scenario. In fact, that is one of the big differences between gestational surrogacy and adoption. In adoption, a couple is bringing another person’s child into their lives. The couple has to wait at least 48 hours after the child is born before the birth mother can consent. In gestational surrogacy, by contrast, the child is considered the couple’s child pretty much upon conception. Accordingly, no further consent is needed after the birth of the child.
Within 3 days after the child is born, the parents petition the court to affirm their parental status. Again, the court is not giving the couple parental rights, but only recognizing that those rights exist. The court will sign an order. The order will require the Department of Vital Statistics to issue a birth certificate naming the couple as the child’s parents.
We are a collaborative family law firm specializing in helping parents reach agreements. Family Diplomacy can help you with your gestational surrogacy needs. We have an attorney who specializes in gestational surrogacy contracts.