Alternative Routes To Becoming A Parent: Surrogacy
For some couples, becoming a parent is a dream that seems out of reach. For any myriad of reasons, they are unable to conceive a child, or are unable to carry a child to term. It can be devastating, even prompting a period of mourning. But there are alternatives worth considering if having a child is a goal. Besides traditional adoptions, which are available through a variety of pathways, having a child with one or both parents’ DNA is definitely a possibility thanks to modern science.
Traditional surrogacy involves artificial insemination using the sperm of the intended father. The egg of the surrogate will be used, meaning the baby will have a genetic link to the surrogate and the intended father, but not the intended mother. The legal risk here is real: the surrogate has 48 hours after delivery to change her mind about turning the baby over to the intended parents, even if a legal contract has been signed by all parties. Nonetheless, this is often a successful and satisfying procedure that benefits all parties.
Gestational surrogacy is also allowed in Florida and carries less legal risk than traditional surgery, making it optimal in situations where viable. In this process a fertilized egg is provided by the intended parents and is carried by a surrogate who undergoes in vitro fertilization. The child will have a genetic relationship to the donor parents, not the surrogate. In some cases, the sperm and/or egg may be provided by a third party. Gestational surrogacy is an excellent option when women are unable to safely undergo pregnancy, or for same-sex males who wish to start a family. Laws related to gestational surrogacy are pretty clear cut in the Sunshine State. For the protection of all parties, having a legal contract is important, though Florida statute clarifies that they are enforceable only if the parents-to-be are married and if all parties are at least 18 years old.
Surrogacy often involves compensation for the surrogate, which is spelled out in detail in the legal contract. In addition to a lump sum, there may be remuneration for travel and medical costs, lost wages, counseling, wardrobe, and even monthly expenses.
When one or both intended parents share a genetic relationship with the child, a pre-birth order is available designating them as the legal parents. If neither intended parent shares genetic connections to the child, or if the surrogate is genetically related, an adoption will have to occur after the birth of the child, wherein the surrogate surrenders all parental rights.
Expanding Your Family
If you are considering surrogacy in order to build a family, there are serious legal issues that require the attention of an experienced Florida family law attorney. At WiseLieberman, our dedicated Boca Raton family law attorneys are committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for you. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.