Choosing Surrogacy Professionals in NY and NJ: Attorneys, Agencies & Clinics
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 you wish 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 comfortable with the professionals you select.
Below, you’ll find information which we hope you will find helpful 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 surrogacy process. This is done by ensuring that, before a pregnancy is achieved, all parties understand the medical and legal process, their responsibilities through each step of the process, and the risks they will may confront along the way. Experience has shown that, when the parties are fully informed, everyone has more confidence that things will proceed 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 looking to find a surrogacy attorney and surrogates looking to locate a surrogate attorney in NY or NJ need look no further than the law firm of Rumbold & Seidelman. Our legal professionals have worked for many years in the field of reproductive law, representing both intended parents and surrogates in all areas of assisted reproduction, including surrogacy. Our attorneys are leaders in their field having assisted in drafting the legislation which, if passed, will modernize surrogacy laws in New York to allow for enforceable compensated surrogacy arrangements. 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 or memorandum of understanding
- 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 888-962-3001 or contacting us online today.
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 required medical screenings, the mental health assessments, and the embryo transfer procedure.
Out-of-state intended parents who have embryos stored at an IVF clinic or storage facility near their home may want to continue working with their own clinic even if the surrogate resides in New York or New Jersey. This is because some intended parents fear that their embryos could be lost or damaged in transit to the surrogacy clinic in New York or New Jersey. In addition, since regulations governing the required testing of embryos vary 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 then 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 always provide you with references 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 Council websites.
Choosing a Surrogacy Agency (Matching Program) in New Jersey
Intended parents working with New York surrogates do not have the option of working with a matching program due to New York legal restrictions. However, intended parents pursuing a New Jersey surrogacy arrangement may work with a surrogacy agency (also known as a surrogacy group, surrogacy center or surrogacy matching program). 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, you are well-advised to hire an escrow agent to disburse any agreed-upon payments to the surrogate. Many intended parents prefer to have professional support throughout this complex process.
The specific services a New Jersey 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 for the recommended medical, psycho-social and background screening
- Case management 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 work with does not need to be in the state where either you or the surrogate reside, 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. There are also infertility advocacy groups, such as Resolve and Family Equality Council, which 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 are not regulated by either the state or federal government.
At Rumbold & Seidelman, we can assist intended parents who are pursing 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.