surrogacy and the law

Surrogacy is a beautiful way of building a family that many people choose for a variety of reasons. There are many alternative options available to people who want to become parents or expand their families, ranging from adopting from foster care to different types of surrogacy. Surrogacy laws are complex and vary from state to state, so it’s important to consult a knowledgeable surrogacy attorney who has expertise in the area you live in. Florida has laws and legal processes that affect every aspect of the surrogacy journey, so it’s a good idea to learn more about the details if you’re considering surrogacy in the Sunshine State. 

Surrogacy Is Legal In Florida

Florida is a surrogacy-friendly state in which both traditional and gestational surrogacy are legal. Traditional surrogacy is similar to adoption because the surrogate mother is biologically related to the baby and can change her mind about the adoption up to 48 hours after the birth. In a gestational surrogacy, the birth mother is not related to the baby, but at least one of the intended parents must be. The pregnancy is created via in vitro fertilization, using the sperm or egg of one of the intended parents and genetic material from an egg donor or sperm donor.  

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Do I Need To Compensate My Surrogate?

Although altruistic surrogacy is legal in Florida, surrogacy agreements usually have a provision for some kind of compensation. This surrogacy compensation includes paying for medical expenses, living expenses, legal expenses, lost wages, and other reasonable expenses incurred throughout the pregnancy. Keep in mind that a surrogacy legal contract is binding and enforceable by law.

In a compensated surrogacy, a surrogate mother is entitled to base compensation or a surrogacy fee on top of not having to pay for basic expenses. In an altruistic surrogacy, on the other hand, the surrogate mother can choose to waive or reduce the surrogacy fee, but the intended parents are still responsible for basic expenses incurred during the pregnancy. Even if a surrogate mother is offering her services for free to the intended parents, it is good common sense to make sure that she feels respected and cared for throughout the process.

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What You Need To Establish Legal Parentage

Establishing legal parentage is one of the most important parts of the surrogacy process. Although they are not required in Florida, you can file what is known as a pre-birth order, which asks the court to recognize the intended parent’s parental status before the birth. A pre-birth order makes it easier for intended parents to have their names added to the birth certificate once their child is born. To establish legal parentage, the intended parents must file a petition to affirm their parental rights within three days of the birth. Once the petition is approved by the court, the intended parents are recognized as the legal parents with full legal rights over their child. In a gestational surrogacy in which the surrogate mother is biologically related to the child, the birth mother must relinquish her parental rights before the intended parents can establish legal parentage. 

How We Can Help You

At Florida Adoption Lawyers, we are proud advocates for birth mothers and children. The surrogacy journey is full of emotional highs and lows, and we are here to guide you every step of the way. Having an attorney who can provide expert legal counsel is a worthwhile investment, especially when it comes to life-changing decisions. Whether you are interested in surrogacy as a birth mother or an intended parent, we are here to answer any questions you may have and to help you decide if surrogacy is right for you. If you are considering surrogacy in the state of Florida, contact us today.