Orange County Surrogacy Lawyers
Protecting the Rights of Surrogates and Intended Parents
Surrogacy is a relatively new form of conception that helps non-traditional families grow and allows couples who are struggling with fertility to have children.
In California, surrogacy laws make the process fairly easy, but both surrogates and intended parents must retain legal counsel.
At Gill Law Group, P.C., we can help guide you through surrogacy from start to finish and protect your rights as the surrogate or intended parent(s).
What Are Parental Rights?
Enacted in California in 2017, the Uniform Parentage Act presumes that any woman who gives birth is her child’s biological mother. If she is married, the husband is presumed to be the child’s father. Biological parents are automatically given parental rights. In addition to establishing custody, these rights allow parents to make decisions on behalf of their children.
In surrogacy cases, the presumptions of the Uniform Parentage Act are incorrect and must be legally revised.
Depending on what type of surrogacy you pursue, there are different ways to prove amended parentage.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is also the biological mother of the child. She uses her own egg and is artificially inseminated by the intended father or a sperm donor. As such, she must relinquish her parental rights when the baby is born.
Additionally, the intended parent(s) must complete a stepparent or second-parent adoption.
Before pregnancy begins, both the surrogate and the intended parent(s) must sign a surrogacy contract.
This contract will protect the intended parents in the event that the surrogate changes her mind. If this happens, the intended parent(s) will have to go to court to obtain custody of the child.
Although it is legal in California, many states ban traditional surrogacy due to its legal and emotional complexities.
Still, this type of surrogacy is a wonderful option for:
- Single men
- Same-sex male couples
- Intended mothers who cannot produce healthy eggs
If you are considering traditional surrogacy as an intended parent, you will need an air-tight legal agreement to protect your custodial rights.
Our attorneys are well-versed in parental rights, surrogacy, and adoption and can help ensure that your surrogacy agreement holds up in court.
When a surrogate agrees to gestational surrogacy, she will not be biologically related to the child she is carrying and will not have parental rights. The surrogate is impregnated by in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the eggs and sperm of the intended parents or donors. In this situation, one or more of the intended parents will be biologically related to the child, simplifying any disagreements over custody.
Nevertheless, gestational surrogates must still complete legal contracts with intended parents. Each party must be represented by a different attorney.
Similarly, surrogates and their husbands (if applicable) must also relinquish their parental rights. In some cases, intended parents may be able to prove parentage ahead of the baby’s birth in a process known as a pre-birth order.
Filing a Pre-Birth Order
If you are going through the process of gestational surrogacy or have a biological claim to your child during traditional surrogacy, your attorney may be able to help you obtain a pre-birth order. This legal document is usually filed around the 7th month of pregnancy and will include an affidavit from your physician confirming the embryo transfer or insemination. Your attorney will also provide the court with your surrogacy agreement and any social documents and evaluations prepared during the surrogacy process.
While a pre-birth order can ease the concerns of both the intended parent(s) and the surrogate, it will not be official until the child is born. At the time of birth, the surrogate must sign the document to make it legally active.
Even with this stipulation, a pre-birth order can be helpful for drafting a birth certificate and clarifying insurance coverage. It will also give the intended parent(s) parental rights in the delivery room, which will allow them to make important medical decisions on behalf of their child and ultimately take their baby home from the hospital.
Hiring an Attorney
Surrogacy can be achieved independently or through an agency, but an attorney must always be involved. Depending on your situation, your attorney may be able to help with:
- Explaining local laws and regulations
- Filing paperwork
- Following up with medical professionals
- Drafting your surrogacy contract
- Anticipating risks and liabilities
- Protecting your parental rights
- Obtaining a pre-birth order
- Custody disagreements
Because of the sensitive matters at hand and the required legal processes, you should hire an attorney who is honest, compassionate, and knowledgeable. Our family law team at Gill Law Group, P.C. is highly awarded and operates with a “client first” philosophy.
We pride ourselves on our excellent communication capabilities and quick response time, and we promise to be transparent throughout the entire surrogacy process.
Get started today with a phone call to (949) 681-9952 and a complimentary consultation.