Surrogacy/ Fertility Law
This type of law is one of the most challenging and rewarding areas of law. Family Formation Agreements or Surrogacy Contracts require specific experience and understanding to help families in different situations. We have represented countless parents, surrogates, embryo, egg and sperm donors over the last 12 years. Our clients include domestic and international single parents, same sex couples, and heterosexual couples seeking to become parents. Our surrogacy attorneys have also represented hundreds of donors and surrogates/gestational carriers who are giving the ultimate gift to excited intended parents. We are here every step of the way from reviewing agency agreements, writing contracts, and drafting and finalizing parentage or judgment documents. Our Surrogacy and donor contracts and documents are also translated into Chinese to assist our Chinese intended parents. With our knowledge of the law and extensive experience, we are well prepared and sensitive to the unique concerns for these agreements. When so much is at stake, it is crucial to have well prepared documents that address potential concerns and expectations of each side to minimize any issues along the way.
When a woman decides to carry an unborn child for intended parents, she is considered a surrogate or gestational carrier. Once a surrogate and intended parent have matched with each other, a contract is prepared that details all the expectations and agreements reached by the parties. These matches are created independently or with the help of a surrogacy agency. Agencies do not draft surrogacy contracts though; only licensed, independent attorneys can do this in California. Family members or friends often act as surrogates. In this special situation, a Surrogacy Agreement is still legally required in California. Each party must have his or her own independent attorney to review this agreement and make sure each side is fully aware of the risks, rights and responsibilities of each party. The medical and legal issues are discussed in the contract. California law prohibits a surrogate from beginning injectable medication until a contract is reviewed with an independent attorney and signed by all parties. It is important for surrogates and intended parents to let attorneys know of timing and anticipated medication start dates when first discussing arrangements.
After a surrogate becomes pregnant, the attorney for the intended parents prepares judgment documents to obtain a legal order for parentage declaring the intended parents as the legal parents and to specify how birth certificates will be completed. The goal of these Judgment documents is to have everything in place before the baby is born so that the intended parents are recognized as the legal parents of the child to be born and to ensure the information of the intended parents is listed on the child's birth certificate, instead of the surrogate's. These documents are delivered to the hospital prior to the birth of the child so that immediately upon birth, custody of the child is given to the intended parent and the child's birth certificate is completed as the intended parents direct.
Surrogacy is a wonderful experience. Our surrogacy lawyers make sure that our clients have a full understanding of what to anticipate each step of the way and surrogacy contracts are written clearly and correctly. Our experience and compassion make our firm the perfect choice for your journey.
Egg donation contracts are prepared to specify the agreements of the donor and intended parents. These agreements are very important in every case, even when a family member or friend is donating her eggs. Once a donor and recipient are matched, a contract should be prepared to formalize the understandings, legal risks, rights and responsibilities of each side. These agreements should be signed and finalized before any egg retrieval occurs.
Sperm donation contracts are prepared to formalize the intentions of the donor and the intended parents. These agreements specify the understanding and agreements of the donor and intended parents. Our firm drafts and reviews these contracts to make sure each party knows what to anticipate and to ensure no misunderstanding occurs.
Sometimes embryos are created and are not used. These embryos can be donated to another family. A contract is prepared to detail the transfer of rights for these embryos from one family to another. Our firm prepares these agreements so that intentions of each party can be formalized and no misunderstandings occur in the future.
Oftentimes intended parents are given a contract to sign when selecting a surrogacy agency. These agreements are very important and are a routine part of an agency's work. Sometimes intended parents are uncomfortable signing these agreements without an attorney reviewing the agreement. Our office routinely reviews these agreements to provide the intended parents with an understanding of what they are agreeing to and what obligations are required by the contract. This review can be done over the phone and we can answer any questions you may have.
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Child & Family Formation Law Group, LLP