Surrogacy is a beautiful way to grow your family. If you are considering surrogacy as an intended parent or are interested in becoming a surrogate mother yourself, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of the process. Surrogacy laws vary from state to state, so be sure to check with an experienced attorney who can provide you with legal counsel throughout your surrogacy journey. Traditional and gestational surrogacy are both legal in Florida, but the process and legal documents required for each type of surrogacy are different.
A pre-birth order, or surrogacy agreement, is a legal document that is signed by the intended parents and the surrogate and her spouse (if she is married), establishing the intended parents as the legal parents of the child. For a pre-birth order to be valid, at least one of the intended parents must be the sperm or egg donor.
In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not biologically related to the baby. Using in vitro fertilization, the egg of the intended parent or an egg donor is fertilized with the sperm of the other intended parent or a sperm donor. The fetus is then implanted in the gestational carrier’s womb.
Because the gestational carrier is not related to the baby, she will not be able to claim parental rights, especially with a pre-birth order in place.
Pre-birth orders are important because they establish legal parentage and protect the intended parents while also looking after the well-being of the surrogate. A pre-birth order states that the surrogate mother will give up all legal rights to the child after he or she is born. Once a pre-birth order is in place, the hospital will also be required to put the intended parent’s names on the baby’s birth certificate, eliminating the need to file more paperwork after the birth.
It is recommended to use a pre-birth order to avoid any confusion about who the legal parents are. Taking care of important legal documents before the birth is also a practical choice, minimizing stress post-delivery for both the surrogate mother and the intended parents.
While pre-birth orders are not mandatory in Florida, they are a useful step in the surrogacy process. Keep in mind that for a pre-birth order to be enforceable in the state of Florida, the intended parents must be married and all parties that sign the agreement must be at least 18 years old.
As part of the pre-birth order, the intended parents must agree to be the legal parents even if the baby is born with an impairment. The pre-birth order also establishes the surrogate mother as the sole source of consent for medical intervention during the pregnancy, while she also agrees to consent to reasonable medical care. Thanks to these provisions in the pre-birth order, the intended parents can rest assured knowing that their baby is being looked after properly, while the surrogate mother knows she can’t be pressured into unnecessary appointments.
As experienced adoption lawyers, we have years of experience advocating for parents, birth mothers, and children. We understand just how overwhelming the surrogacy process can be for surrogate mothers and intended parents, and are here to help guide you every step of the way.
The surrogacy process is similar to adoption in many ways, and having caring and emphatic legal counsel to answer your questions and protect your best interests is a crucial part of the process. If you are considering surrogacy in the state of Florida, contact us today.