Montgomery County, PA Surrogacy Lawyer
Surrogacy and Your Family
Surrogacy is quickly becoming a viable family building option for many couples who have encountered difficulties conceiving. Since the arrangement is largely unprecedented in Pennsylvania courts, you need an astute attorney by your side for every step of the process. Call a Montgomery County family law lawyer at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. to discuss your options, roles, and responsibilities as a surrogate mother or parents by surrogacy.
What Exactly Is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a process in which a woman agrees to carry another person or couple’s child. The woman who has the child is called the surrogate mother (she may also be known as the gestational carrier). Many surrogacy agreements involve a legal contract. The contract outlines the surrogacy agreement in which the surrogate mother carries a pregnancy to term and then the intended parents raise the child, with no help from the surrogate mother. Surrogacy has become popular in recent years, especially with same-sex couples and couples experiencing fertility issues. There are many reasons why a couple may choose the surrogacy route when starting their family. If you feel that surrogacy is the correct choice for you, contact a dedicated Pennsylvania surrogacy attorney at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C.
What are the Different Types of Surrogacies?
For many Pennsylvania couples, surrogacy is their chosen method of beginning a family. Luckily, there are several different types of surrogacy arrangements possible. These may include:
- Traditional Surrogacy: this involves the artificial insemination of the surrogate’s egg with the intended father’s sperm.
- Gestational Surrogacy: this involves an implanted embryo created with the intended mother’s egg (or an egg provided by a donor) and the intended father’s sperm (or sperm provided by a donor). The embryo is then implanted through a process called in vitro fertilization (IVF).
What Is a Surrogacy Agreement?
In both traditional and gestational surrogacy situations, a surrogacy agreement will be necessary. A surrogacy agreement clearly establishes the rights and obligations of the surrogate mother and the intended parents. Your dedicated Montgomery County family law attorney can help you draft a surrogacy agreement that protects your family’s future. A surrogacy agreement should address the following concerns:
- What can be shared regarding the surrogate pregnancy
- What health and care will look like for the surrogate prior to birth
- How the cost for any necessary procedures will be paid for. (This will include procedures like artificial insemination, egg donation, and IVF.)
- Who will pay for any medical treatments needed by the surrogate mother
- How many attempts at a pregnancy will the surrogate mother and the intended parents try
- Who will have custody of the child born from the surrogacy agreement
- If and when terminating a pregnancy can take place and other related matters
Pre-Birth Orders and Related Issues
In addition to the surrogacy agreement, your family law attorney will help you file a petition with the court known as a pre-birth order. This is an important document between the surrogate and the intended parents of the child that will officially name the intended parents as legal guardians. This will also be reflected on the child’s birth certificate. When it is granted, it can also resolve issues such as:
- Future court proceedings around this matter
- Establishing who can make medical decisions on behalf of the child
- The intended parents being able leave the hospital with their child after birth
- Other related issues
The order can be filed in the Pennsylvania county where either the biological parent or surrogate resides. You will want to consult with your family law attorney to see which county will work best for your situation. This is because the process for surrogacy and the kind of judges who will preside over your case can be different depending on the county that you choose. All parties involved may be required to attend a hearing in certain counties.
Whether they are using an egg donor, sperm donor, or both, those who can obtain a pre-birth order in Pennsylvania include:
- Married or unmarried heterosexual couples
- Married or unmarried same-sex couples
- Single parents
There might be an instance where a judge refuses to grant a pre-birth order. Or, an issue could arise if one of the intended parents is not biological. Whatever may arise, your family law attorney can advise you of your legal options and the appropriate steps to take in moving forward with the surrogacy process.
A Unique Relationship
The relationship between a surrogate mother and the family for whom she is carrying the baby for is very complex and intimate. The laws and courts have been unclear as to whether a surrogacy contract can be upheld. It is an emerging issue with little legal history.
There are no laws in Pennsylvania that disallow a woman to contract with another person or couple to carry and birth a child for financial compensation. The state has recognized surrogacy agencies as legitimate entities. It has an "assisted birth registration procedure" that allows the hospital to issue a birth certificate with the names of the actual parents listed. Normally, the hospital lists the woman who gives birth as the mother by default. Both of these factors make this a likely place to choose surrogacy. This accepting environment makes Pennsylvania a good choice for both surrogates and prospective parents.
The legal issues are complex as are the emotional issues. That is why both the surrogate and the parents should consult an attorney before deciding to undertake this process. The surrogate may receive financial compensation from the family, but the gift of a child to call their own is priceless. When surrogacy plans go awry, it is a breach of contract and a breach of trust. You need a qualified Montgomery County, PA family law attorney to lay the foundation for a successful surrogate pregnancy.
Whether you are considering surrogacy as a way to finally start a family or a young woman considering giving the gift of a child to a couple who desperately wants one, you need legal representation. Avoid problems by consulting a lawyer before engaging in this unique relationship with limited precedence.
Our Montgomery County Attorney Can Help You Start a Family
There are many issues you and your chosen surrogate may come across during this endeavor. Let the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. help you give or receive the gift of a newborn child. Call us at (866) 290-9292 today to discuss your surrogacy contract.
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