Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is providing countless families the opportunity and gift of having children where such possibilities may not have existed in the past. Gamete donation and gestational surrogacy offer a meaningful approach to realizing the dream of having children.
The importance of having a formal contract governing your surrogacy or ART matter cannot be understated.
Establishing your legal parentage is a major aspect of completing a surrogacy journey. Pennsylvania has set procedures and requirements for this process.
The financial aspects of a surrogacy relationship can be complicated and awkward - let us manage the details so you can focus on your future family!
Want to complete your surrogacy without an agency (and the fees)? We can help with the details.
The importance of having a formal contract governing your surrogacy or gamete/embryo donation cannot be understated. Every aspect of the relationship and the expectations of both parties – the carrier, or donor, and the Intend Parents – should be thoroughly detailed so as to protect and preserve the rights of both parties. At minimum, a gestational surrogacy contract should detail the embryo transfer procedures, management of the pregnancy, situations that would give rise to a termination of pregnancy, health insurance, and the financial arrangements between the parties. David will guide you through the contract process to make sure you understand the provisions being included, why those provisions are necessary, and what provisions or financials are standard throughout the industry. Having drafted hundreds of contracts throughout his career, David will be able to get you from the start of the legal process to a signed contract efficiently, effectively, and affordably.
If you are donating gametes or acting as a gestational carrier having your own independent representation is invaluable, and often times an agency or clinic requirement. Your cousins friend who practices real estate law is not going to have the experience and knowledge that is necessary to ensure that the contract you are signing is both up to contemporary standards. You also need an attorney who will be there for you throughout the entire journey. You shouldn't be afraid to call your attorney because you don't want to get billed. David has represented hundreds of gestational carriers and has first hand experience with the process. During his final year of law school, David's former spouse carried as a gestational surrogate, giving David the real world knowledge few attorneys in the field have.
Unfortunately, from time to time disputes can arise. Whether financial or otherwise, it is important to first attempt to resolve these disputes informally. However, when informal conflict resolution fails, you need an attorney who will zealously defend your rights and protect you. Other surrogacy attorneys may have years of experience drafting contracts, but when it comes to actually enforcing contracts they hand you off to a civil litigation firm with no surrogacy or ART law expertise. In the unfortunate event of a dispute concerning your contract, David will ensure you get the legal representation you need every step of the way.
Establishing your legal parentage is an essential step in the surrogacy process - it is of course a material aspect of any surrogacy arrangement that the intended parents, and not the carrier, be named on the child's birth certificate. Thankfully, the Pennsylvania Department of Health ("DOH") has a set procedure, that when correctly followed, will result in a birth certificate accurately reflecting the child's parents. This process requires a court order (known as a Prebirth Order) to be obtained and should be initiated around the twentieth week of pregnancy. David has obtained the required court order from county orphans' courts across Pennsylvania and has successfully established legal parentage for heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, and single parents. This process is only available in gestational surrogacy situations, however it is available even if the intended parents are utilizing donated gametes or embryos.
With intimate knowledge and experience in drafting and reviewing surrogacy contracts, David can provide the detailed, hands-on escrow/trust account management necessary to ensure that funds are safeguarded and dispersed in accordance with the parties contract. By utilizing a trust account and trust manager for the funds related to your surrogacy journey, the carrier and intended parents can be assured that disbursements are made on time, receipts/submissions for reimbursement are reviewed and documented, and any other financial requests are addressed in a timely manner. An escrow/trust account managed by a third party also allows for the financial aspect of the surrogacy relationship, which can often be awkward for the parties to deal with, to be removed from the everyday interactions between the carrier and intended parents.
Whatever your reason for seeking a gestational surrogate, the task can be daunting to say the least! David can assist Intended Parents in this process by completing criminal background checks and additional preliminary screening. David has also worked with many of the surrogacy agencies and assist in guiding you to a reputable agency to work with. Conversely, if you are interested in carrying as a gestational surrogate and would like to learn more about the process please contact David for more information.
Copyright © 2020 The Law Office of David M. Secouler, LLC - All Rights Reserved. While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer.