Assisted Reproduction and Surrogate Parenting Questions
What do you do in surrogacies and cases involving assisted reproduction?
We have helped many people seeking to create families using the latest technologies in reproduction to fully understand the issues and legal risks involved. We often assist with the intended parents, who are interested in working with surrogates who will carry their child for them and give birth to their child. Once the surrogate is identified, we can begin working with the intended parents to draft a detailed Surrogacy Agreement that is be used to define and formalize the terms of the surrogacy. We will ensure that the surrogate will have separate counsel to protect her interests and work out the acceptable language for her.
On many occasions, we also work with the surrogate to ensure that her rights are protected and that she understands the issues and legal risks involved. We can review the proposed Surrogacy Agreement with her to ensure that she understands the terms and considers what may be in her best interests.
After the agreement has been executed, and the birth is near, we can begin to proceed to court on behalf of all the parties using the Surrogacy Agreement as evidence of the parties' intentions. In a procedure that we created here in Maryland, which is now used by other attorneys throughout many of the courts in Maryland, we go to court to obtain an Order of Parentage listing the intended parents as the proper parents. Once this order is obtained, this permits the Division of Vital Records in Maryland to issue the proper birth certificate further formalizing the parentage.
Do I have to be concerned about violating the law by proceeding with a surrogacy?
Concerned yes, and cautious, but . . . . There is no law that specifically deals with assisted reproduction and surrogacy in Maryland. Because of the uncharted nature of the law in this area, it is a constant concern that actions not be taken that could be construed to be a violation of Maryland law. Surrogacy Agreements have never been tested here in Maryland, nor has anyone attempted to enforce a Surrogacy Agreement in Maryland to date. Therefore, since there are risks when dealing with surrogacies here in Maryland, all involved with surrogacy must be made aware of these and other potential risks. We have had considerable success with these on a regular basis. We have had many clients negotiate and obtain Surrogacy Agreements. These agreements have enabled us to obtain Parentage Orders and later appropriate birth certificates.
While no guarantees can ever be given in these cases in such an uncharted area, surrogacy can be a rewarding and positive experience. There is no substitute for obtaining experienced medical, legal and psychological assistance in this quickly evolving area.