Media & Events
Fertility Law At a Glance
By Yifat Shaltiel, Esq.
April 22, 2013
If you have turned to a gestational surrogate, or perhaps turning to egg donation, sperm donation, or embryo donation for assistance in building and growing your family, chances are that you will need some legal advice.
Many families are turning to assisted reproductive technology to grow their families. In fact, it is estimated that today one in every six couples are affected by infertility. The good news is that in today’s medical world, there are many options when it comes to building your family. But in addition to having a good fertility clinic and medical care on your side, you will also need to consult with an attorney who specializes in reproductive law to ensure that your rights and intentions throughout this process are protected.
For example, if you are considering surrogacy, there are numerous items that you will want to evaluate. For one, all state laws regarding compensated surrogacy are not created equal! There are advantages and disadvantages to obtaining a surrogate, but they vary from state to state and are also case specific. In fact, compensated surrogacy in some states is illegal and even criminalized, so having an attorney with knowledge of the various surrogacy state laws is essential.
When it comes to locating a surrogate, your attorney can work together with a reputable surrogacy agency that can match you to a surrogate. However, you may also choose to find a surrogate individually with the assistance of your attorney. Since an agency’s matching fees can be costly (and usually start at approximately $20,000) some intended parents choose to work with their attorney and locate a gestational surrogate individually. Chances are that your attorney might already have a list of surrogates for you to review, or your attorney will be able to assist you in locating a surrogate. Your attorney will also be able to alleviate any issues of confidentiality that might exist. For example, a surrogate may want to keep her identifying information confidential, or you might want to keep all of your information confidential. Having an attorney facilitate the discussions between the parties will make everyone feel more comfortable and secure with the process.
Once you have successfully located and chosen a surrogate, your attorney will ensure that there is a sound legal contract in place that fully outlines the meeting of the minds between all of the parties, and protects and preserves your intentions. It is very important that the surrogate understands your intentions and agrees to comply with them. For example, you will want to ensure that your surrogate will follow your wishes when it comes to making medical decisions regarding your unborn child, such as whether or not there will be a reduction in the case of multiples, or whether or not a pregnancy will be terminated if there are any severe fetal abnormalities. You will want to ensure that the surrogate you choose understands, respects, and agrees to follow your wishes and intentions, whatever they may be, in these types of situations. So having a contract that clearly lays out the meeting of the minds between all of the parties is crucial.
The to-do list when considering various assisted reproductive technology options is lengthy and overwhelming. Having the right professional attorney who specializes in reproductive law on your side will alleviate this burden, guide you through the process, and ensure that your rights and intentions are protected and preserved.