Legal Guidance For Intended Parents And Surrogates
Surrogacy has grown in popularity as a way for couples to start or expand their family. For the intended parents, it’s a big investment and leap of faith. For the surrogate mother, it’s a big sacrifice and heavy responsibility.
The family law attorneys of Lincoln & Wenk, PLLC, help create the conditions for a successful surrogacy arrangement. We represent either party in negotiating the terms. It is so important for everyone to be on the same page so that the pregnancy, delivery and transfer go as smoothly as possible.
Is Surrogacy Legal In Arizona?
Surrogacy itself is legal and fairly common. However, Arizona law prohibits surrogacy contracts. Because surrogacy agreements are not enforceable in court, both parties need to “do their homework” before entering into such an arrangement. It is critical to seek knowledgeable legal counsel.
Establishing Parental Rights In Arizona Courts
In gestational surrogacy, the intended parents provide the sperm and the egg (their own or donated) and the surrogate mother carries the implanted embryo to term. The intended parents then petition the court to be legally declared parents of the child. Many Arizona courts will grant pre-birth orders establishing parental rights in advance so that the intended parents have legal standing and peace of mind as they anticipate their new baby.
If at least one of the intended parents is biologically related to the child, that parent can obtain a pre-birth parentage order. Depending on the circumstances (and the judge), it may be necessary for the other parent to obtain a stepparent adoption or to go outside of Arizona to obtain a second-parent adoption. Our attorneys can guide you through the steps for both parents to be legally recognized and recorded on the birth certificate.
Working Out The Terms Of Surrogacy Arrangements
Since surrogacy contracts are not recognized under Arizona law, a greater degree of trust, communication and detail is necessary in preparing for surrogacy. We work with both parties to make sure everyone is in agreement and all the bases are covered. Among the common elements and considerations:
- Compensation to the surrogate (living expenses, medical care, surrogacy fee)
- Health insurance coverage and access to prenatal care
- Prohibited behaviors during pregnancy
- What should happen in the event of multiple embryos or birth defects
- Compensation in the event of failure to implant or miscarriage
- Whether the intended parents will attend the birth
- Provisions for bonding with the newborn and transfer
- Future contact (if any) with the surrogate mom
Guidance From Experienced Family Law Attorneys
There are key issues (and some gray areas) to address in surrogacy. With sound legal advice, you can proceed with confidence toward a clear agreement and a happy ending. The attorneys of Lincoln & Wenk, PLLC, have years of focused experience in Arizona family law, including surrogacy and adoption.