Becoming a Surrogate Mother for a Family Member or Friend
In many cases, women choosing to pursue surrogacy are doing so because they want to help someone they know to have a child. If you’re thinking about being a surrogate for a friend or family member in New York or New Jersey, our attorneys are here to help.
Even though you have already identified intended parents, you will still need to undergo the required ASRM screening procedures to ensure that you are eligible to be a surrogate. You will also need to enter into a surrogacy contract or memorandum of understanding with the intended parents. These documents outline everyone’s expectations and responsibilities and are designed to ensure that the parties are comfortable with the journey they are taking together.
If you are wondering how to be a surrogate for a friend or family member, you can contact the law firm of Rumbold & Seidelman today for legal guidance. Our attorneys can help you complete the legal documents required before the start of the medical procedures related to the pregnancy. Feel free to contact our law firm at 888-962-3001.
In the meantime, you can find answers to some of your questions about surrogacy within the family or among friends below.
1. Can you be a surrogate for a family member or friend?
Yes, a woman can choose to become a surrogate mother for a family member or friend in New York or New Jersey. Before making a commitment to a surrogacy plan, the prospective surrogate must understand the legal and medical procedures and confirm that the intended parents have the same surrogacy goals and preferences she does. Taking these careful steps at the outset of the process will help to make the surrogacy journey a positive one for everyone involved. Regardless of everyone’s good intentions and the close relationship they have with one another, the fertility clinic and other surrogacy professionals will still require there to be a determination as to whether the surrogate meets the eligibility qualifications.
The most important surrogacy qualifications are that the surrogate is between the ages of 21 and 45 and that she has carried at least one successful pregnancy to term without complications. You will also need to pass the medical screening required to determine whether you are healthy enough to undergo the embryo transfer process and the risks associated with any pregnancy. If you do not meet these requirements, your doctor and the other professionals involved may not approve you to complete a surrogacy for a family member or friend. For more information about whether you meet surrogacy requirements, please contact your local surrogacy agency or fertility clinic.
2. What is the process of becoming a surrogate for a family member or friend in NY or NJ?
Wondering how to become a surrogate for a family member or friend? There are a few steps involved.
First, you and the intended parents should speak openly and honestly with one another about the surrogacy plan to ensure that everyone’s expectations for the pregnancy and period after birth are well understood and that everyone is on the same page. There are surrogacy professionals and counselors who can assist with this process. This first step is essential to ensuring that you have a positive a surrogacy experience from the outset.
Next, you and the intended parents will need to complete screening and assessment to determine whether you are physically, medically and emotionally ready for the challenges ahead. Intended parents also need to be screened to make sure they have the capacity to parent a child born through surrogacy. The required screening and assessments are usually completed by the surrogacy agency and at the fertility clinic.
Once approved, your intended parents and you can create a surrogacy contract or memorandum of understanding, depending on whether you live in New Jersey or New York. Our attorneys can either draft these documents or, if the intended parent’s attorney drafts them, we will review those documents and revise them according to your wishes. Most fertility clinics require the party’s attorney to send a letter to the clinic verifying that the parties have entered into an agreement between them.
After the legal documentation has been completed, the fertility clinic will arrange for you to start the medication required to prepare you for the embryo transfer procedure. The time frame for doing that will be determined by your treating physician. Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you will be now be on the path toward helping your loved one build their family.
3. If I’m being a surrogate for a friend or family member, why do I need a surrogacy contract?
This is a typical question asked by many surrogates choosing to become pregnant to help a close friend or family member. The answer becomes clear once you understand the purpose of these agreements and the components typically included in them. A well-drafted gestational carrier agreement (in New Jersey) or a memorandum of understanding (in New York) will outline every step of the surrogacy process including:
- each party’s rights and responsibilities
- the risks each party is incurring
- financial responsibility for medical and other pregnancy-related expenses
- insurance coverage
- the right to make medical decisions during the pregnancy and after birth
- and expectations regarding contact and communication during the pregnancy and after the baby is born.
An experienced surrogacy attorney will ensure these important components are addressed for your legal protection and for the integrity of the process. Because, under New Jersey law, surrogacy contracts are only legally enforceable if they conform to legal requirements, it is essential that your New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement be drafted by knowledgeable attorneys experienced in this area of the law.
In New York, even though surrogacy contracts are currently unenforceable, a memorandum of understanding is critical to ensuring that the parties are all in agreement and share the same expectations going forward. In fact, many fertility clinics will not proceed with an embryo transfer without the assurance that the parties have had the opportunity to be advised by independent attorneys and have a written memorandum of understanding.
Provided the surrogate is not compensated for her efforts, there is nothing preventing a New York woman from being a surrogate. However, because surrogacy agreements are unenforceable in New York, the parties must have a great deal of trust and respect for one another in order to have the confidence to move forward with their plan.
Keep in mind that even if you are a surrogate mother for a relative or friend in New York or New Jersey and have no expectation of receiving any compensation for your efforts, it is still important to work with a surrogacy attorney who can ensure that your surrogacy expenses will be paid by the intended parents. As with all costs related to the surrogacy arrangement, the fees charged by your attorney should be paid by the intended parents.
The law firm of Rumbold & Seidelman has guided many surrogates and intended parents through the process surrogacy within the family or among friends in both New York and New Jersey. We are happy to help you, too. For more information, we encourage you to contact our law firm at 88-962-3001 or online.