CHOOSING SURROGACY PROFESSIONALS IN NY AND NJ
Surrogacy can be a complicated journey for intended parents, especially those who are new to the surrogacy process. Not only are you dealing with a complex medical procedure, but the legal procedures are also complex. There is no doubt that you should work with attorneys who have the experience and legal expertise required for you to be recognized as the parents of your child on the earliest possible date. For that reason, you and the surrogate should thoroughly research your options before settling on a particular professional.
Those pursuing surrogacy in New York and New Jersey, like intended parents throughout the country, will need to work with surrogacy attorneys, surrogacy clinics and surrogacy agencies (more properly referred to as matching programs). While the first two are mandatory, you have a choice as to whether to hire a surrogacy matching program. Beyond verifying the experience and expertise of any potential professional, you and the surrogate will also want to feel emotionally supported by the professionals you select.
Below, you’ll find information which we hope you will find useful as you set out to select your required professionals.
Selecting your NY and NJ Surrogacy Attorneys
Every intended parent and surrogate needs a personal surrogacy attorney, regardless of their circumstances and where they live. The purpose a surrogacy lawyer serves is to protect the rights and interests of their client throughout the legal process. Before a pregnancy is achieved, all parties should understand the medical and legal process, their responsibilities at each step in the process, and the risks they may confront along the way. Experience has shown that, when the parties are fully informed, things will proceed more smoothly. In addition, the attorney’s job is to ensure that the parties have complied with the legal requirements necessary for the intended parents to obtain legal recognition of their parental relationship with the child.
Intended parents and surrogates seeking a surrogacy attorney in NY or NJ need look no further than the law firm of Rumbold & Seidelman. We have worked for many years in the field of reproductive law and are considered one of the leaders in their field. We played a leading role in drafting and advocating for passage of the Child-Parent Security Act which updated New York State’s antiquated parentage laws as they pertained to third-party reproduction. The attorneys at Rumbold & Seidelman are also members of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys — the preeminent national credentialed organization of attorneys working in the field of reproductive law.
The attorneys at Rumbold & Seidelman are experienced in the laws of both New York and New Jersey and can provide you with the following services:
- Help you to understand the applicable state law
- Draft a well-crafted surrogacy contract
- Institute the legal proceedings required to establish your parental rights
- Provide you with legal counsel every step of the way
Choosing a New York or New Jersey surrogacy attorney is an important step for any intended parent. We encourage you to learn more about our services by calling our attorneys at 914-779-1050 or contacting us online.
Choosing a Surrogacy Clinic in NJ or NY
Every intended parent will need to work with a surrogacy clinic (also called an IVF or fertility clinic) because only a specialized medical provider has the skill to perform all of the required medical screenings, the mental health assessments, and the embryo transfer procedure.
Out-of-state intended parents with embryos stored at an IVF clinic or storage facility outside of New York or New Jersey may want to continue working with their own clinic, even if the surrogate resides in New York or New Jersey, to avoid the risk that their embryos could be lost or damaged in transit. In addition, because the required testing of embryos varies by state, it is possible that embryos formed in one state will not meet the testing requirements of a second state and cannot be shipped into that state. In these cases, the surrogate may undergo her medical screenings and examinations at a clinic near her home and then travel to the IVF clinic where the embryos are stored to undergo the embryo transfer procedure. The intended parents typically pay the surrogate’s travel expenses from her home to the embryo transfer facility.
After the transfer, the surrogate can return home and receive her prenatal care from her own obstetrician. If the surrogate plans to give birth in New York or New Jersey, the attorneys will complete the legal paperwork required by those states to secure the legal relationship between the intended parents and child.
If you have not yet selected a surrogacy clinic, it’s important to research which clinic is the best match for you based on their fees, clinic location, the reputation and success rates of the physicians and whether you feel comfortable with the clinic staff. Our surrogacy attorneys can provide you with referrals to trusted surrogacy clinics, or intended parents can search for a clinic on their own through the database provided by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine as well as the list of providers included on the Resolve or Family Equality websites.
Choosing a Surrogacy Agency (Matching Program) in New Jersey and New York
Intended parents pursuing a surrogacy arrangement may work with a surrogacy agency (also known as a surrogacy group, surrogacy center or surrogacy matching program). New Jersey intended parents may work with any matching program of their choice. By contrast, those pursuing a surrogacy arrangement in New York may only work with matching programs licensed by New York State. Working with a matching program is not necessary if you are comfortable locating the surrogate on your own and taking responsibility for the many details required in any surrogate pregnancy.
Of course, even if you find the surrogate on your own, you’ll still need to work with a surrogacy attorney and an IVF clinic. In a compensated surrogacy arrangement, you are well-advised to hire an escrow agent to disburse any agreed-upon payments to the surrogate.
The specific services a surrogacy matching program should provide include:
- Learning your preferences for any potential surrogate (including the preferred location where she lives)
- Locating a surrogate meeting your preferences and requirements
- Arranging the recommended medical, psycho-social and background screenings
- Managing services for you and the surrogate from start to finish
- Arranging for counseling and support services to address any issues arising during the pregnancy
- Coordinating communication between the various professionals
While the surrogacy program you select does not need to be in the state where either you or the surrogate resides, you should verify that the state law being applied to your surrogacy arrangement does not prohibit such programs from operating in their state. Because matching program fees vary, along with the quality and comprehensiveness of the services provided, you should diligently research any program you are considering prior to making a commitment.
Your due diligence should include speaking with program staff to make sure you’re comfortable with them and speaking with intended parents who have worked with the program to hear about their experience. It’s also a good idea to review the program’s “service agreement” to see what services are included in their fee, what funds are at risk in the event you don’t have a successful pregnancy, and any other terms and conditions of service. Infertility advocacy groups, such as Resolve and Family Equality, also provide a wealth of information about surrogacy matching programs. Finally, contact the Better Business Bureau to determine whether the program has had any complaints lodged against them. These steps are critical to protecting the integrity of the surrogacy process as well as the substantial funds you’ll be providing to the program to cover service costs. It’s important to understand that, unlike medical clinics and attorneys which are highly regulated, surrogacy matching programs, except in New York, are not typically regulated by either the state or federal government.
At Rumbold & Seidelman, we can assist intended parents who are pursuing either an independent surrogacy or a surrogacy with the assistance of a matching program. Regardless of your choice, you can always contact our surrogacy attorneys, and we will be happy to guide you through this complex legal process.