Surrogacy still continues to gain controversy. Legally speaking, it can be a bit tricky as surrogacy laws vary from one state to another. In this article, we give you an overview of what surrogacy is all about.
What is a Surrogate Mother?
There are two kinds of surrogate mothers – the Traditional Surrogate and the Gestational Surrogate.
- Traditional Surrogate
This type of surrogacy is when the surrogate mother is also the biological mother of the child. During the process, the father’s sperm is artificially inseminated to the surrogate mother. Her own aqegg is then fertilized by the inseminated sperm. She will then carry the baby and deliver it for the couple ideally after 9 months.
- Gestational Surrogate
In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother is a person who carries the baby during the pregnancy. She is not the biological mother and is not genetically related to the baby.
Through the process called In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), eggs from the mother are gathered. These eggs are then fertilized with the father’s sperm. The embryos are placed into the uterus of the surrogate.
Legal Rights of a Surrogate Mother
Knowing the rights of a surrogate mother is important not for the woman who decided to become a surrogate mother, but also for a couple who decided that surrogacy is the best option for them. Knowledge of the rights of a surrogate mother will make the surrogacy process smooth, and can avoid further legal actions on all parties involved.
If the surrogate mother decides to be affiliated with an agency, she can choose to be anonymous until all factors have been finalized. Meaning, she can choose to remain anonymous as the couple chooses on the right surrogate mother for them.
The surrogate mother also has the right to remain anonymous during the whole process if she wants to. In some instances, the surrogate mother and the couple involved would never meet. The do not know each other’s names, and they use aliases for the paperwork.
- Expenses and Fees
It is the surrogate mother’s right to have the intended parents pay for her medical bills. Any medical check-ups, treatments, and procedures directly related to the pregnancy should be taken care of by the intended parents. Additionally, the surrogate mother can also get an overall fee, if both parties agreed to it at the beginning.
Pregnancy is never easy. The whole process and the aftermath can greatly affect the surrogate mother. This is why a surrogate mother has the right to undergo counseling. She can attend the psychiatric alone, or she can have the intended parents go with her.
Surrogate pregnancy is a unique kind of pregnancy. Therefore, a surrogate mother must get all the support that she needs to get it sailing smoothly.
- Rights to the Baby
This is the trickiest part and probably the most sensitive issue on surrogacy. Surrogacy laws vary depending on the state and you will need the help of a family law attorney if you want to exercise your right to the baby.
Under the Traditional Surrogacy, the surrogate mother is the biological mother as well. In this case, she has to terminate her rights and have the intended spouse adopt the baby legally. With these, both the biological father and his spouse become the legal parents of the baby.
However, since she is the biological mother, she still has the rights to the baby. She can exercise her rights to get into trial and keep the baby.
Under Gestational Surrogacy, on the other hand, since the surrogate mother is not the biological mother, she has no right to the baby. Genetically, the baby is only related to the intended parents. The baby’s birth certificate will have the names of the biological parents only upon delivery.
Have a Family Law Attorney Guide You Through
Whether you choose to become a surrogate mother or you are a couple who intends to get one, it is important to be knowledgeable of the rights of both parties. Contact a family law attorney now and get to know more about the laws related to surrogacy.
Written by Kellie Bertels, an attorney at Bandre, Hunt and Snider in Jefferson City, MO. Bandre, Hunt and Snider are the best attorneys Jefferson City MO have to offer.