What is a Surrogacy Contract?

Whether you’re an intended parent or a gestational surrogate, there are many documents that you’ll need to fill out during your surrogacy journey. But there are few as important as the surrogacy contract. This agreement will:

  • Outline each party’s rights and responsibilities
  • Address what will happen in any “what-if” scenarios
  • Protect everyone involved from risk
  • And more

You can get more information about the surrogacy contract, or start your surrogacy journey today, by clicking here to contact us.

This legal document is an important part of making sure your experience is as smooth and safe as possible. But when you’re just starting out, any legal agreement can sound overwhelming. The good news is that it’s not your job to do everything on your own. That’s what this guide and your surrogacy attorney are for.  

Below, learn more about the surrogacy contract. But please keep in mind that this article is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. If you have any questions, please contact your surrogacy attorney to get more information.  

What is a Surrogacy Contract? 

A surrogacy legal contract is a legally binding agreement to protect everyone involved in the process.

  • Essentially, it guides the entire surrogacy journey.
  • It will clearly outline each party’s rights along with their responsibilities during the surrogacy journey and long after.
  • When done correctly with your experienced surrogacy attorney, it can limit future miscommunication and legal disputes.  

You might be asking yourself, “Do I need a surrogacy contract even if I’m working with someone I trust?” The answer will always be yes.

Even if you’re working with your best friend, your sister, or someone you’re close with, everyone who begins the surrogacy process should have a formal, legal contract. Without it, all parties are at a severe legal, financial and emotional risk.  

With the help of each individual attorney, your gestational surrogacy contract can: 

  • Help paperwork be processed more smoothly after the baby is born 
  • Give everyone the change to think about potential scenarios they might not have considered yet 
  • Decide how everyone will react in “what-if” scenarios 

How to Make a Surrogacy Contract 

You and the intended parents or surrogate you are working with will each have your own surrogacy attorney. This will be crucial during the negotiating and drafting stage, as you need someone who can advocate for your interests.

Creating paid surrogacy contracts is a collaborative effort. What your surrogacy agreement ends up as can look very different to another intended parent or surrogate.  

Typically, here is what the process of creating gestational surrogacy contracts look like: 

  • Step 1: One party works with an attorney to draft the contract. The intended parents/surrogate will work with their attorney to draft the initial contract, which is then sent to the other party. 
  • Step 2: The other party reviews the contract with their attorney. With the help of your lawyer, you (or the intended parents/surrogate you’re working with) will review the surrogacy contract draft to ensure that your rights and requests are represented. If any changes need to be made, the requests will be sent back to the other party’s lawyer.  
  • Step 3: Continue negotiations and revisions. You’ll continue this process until both parties are satisfied with the terms of the surrogacy contract.  
  • Step 4: Finalize and sign the contract. Once both parties reach an agreement, you’ll sign the surrogacy contract and move onto the next steps of the surrogacy process.  

Throughout this process, it is imperative that you work with a trusted surrogacy attorney.

While you might be pursuing an independent surrogacy, you should still steer clear of sample surrogacy contracts that are printable. 

  • These surrogacy contract templates that you can find online are often shortsighted and don’t cover all the potential situations that can happen in a surrogacy arrangement.
  • Without proper legal guidance, you are putting yourself at risk of legal disputes and miscommunication between yourself and the surrogate/intended parents.
  • Completing your surrogacy journey without a comprehensive contract ensures that there is no legal protection for the intended parents, surrogate or the child.  

In short, it is always better to go the extra mile to make sure that your rights are represented and protected. We know that any legal process can feel overwhelming. But an experienced surrogacy attorney will do everything they can to make creating a surrogacy contract simple and easy to understand.  

What is Included in the Surrogacy Contract? 

There is a lot of thought and planning that goes into creating paid surrogacy contracts. Like with most legal documents, the specifics can vary depending on your state surrogacy laws and your individual circumstances. Generally, every surrogacy contract will include the following.  

  • Language that the surrogate’s partner (if applicable) is on board and understands the process 
  • How much financial compensation the surrogate will receive
  • What kind of surrogacy- and pregnancy-related expenses the intended parents will cover 
  • How much contact both parties plan to share during the process and after the baby is born
  • The surrogate’s responsibilities to take care of herself during the pregnancy 
  • Who will be present at prenatal appointments and during delivery
  • What would happen in the event of a medical complication 
  • What would happen if termination or selective reduction is required 
  • And more 

There are many unforeseen “what-if” scenarios to consider during surrogacy, like termination or selective reduction, that both intended parents and surrogates need to consider. When drafting your surrogacy contract, it’s important to think about all possible outcomes. To ensure that nothing is overlooked, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who knows what to look for.  

How Do I Start Creating a Surrogate Agreement?  

Contacting a well-known surrogacy agency or attorney is the best place to start creating your gestational surrogacy agreement. Surrogacy is a process that requires time and energy. It will always be worth the extra effort to make sure you’re working with someone you can trust right from the get-go.  

When Alicia started her surrogacy journey, she knew that working with an agency was the way to go: 

“I wanted to go through an agency because I actually looked at an online board where you could match with people, but I found that to be a little too risky for me, especially with being out of state,” she said. “You’re not covered — you don’t know these people, and this could be just a disaster. I don’t know what I’m doing… so I definitely needed the agency support because they know the laws, they can make sure all the paperwork’s done, so I didn’t have to think about any of those things.” 

If you’re interested in learning more about the surrogacy process, or if you have questions about how to create your own surrogacy contract, you can always reach out to a surrogacy specialist or attorney for more information.