Surrogacy Lawyers in San Diego
How Does California Law View Surrogacy?
Couples who struggle with infertility often turn to alternative methods for having children, such as adoption, in vitro fertilization, or surrogacy. Surrogacy is when a woman agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child who will legally be the child of another person or couple, not the woman herself.
There are two types of surrogacy:
- Traditional surrogacy: A traditional surrogate will donate her own eggs to the process, thus she is the biological mother of the child she’s carrying for another. The sperm may come from the to-be father or a donor.
- Gestational surrogacy: A gestational surrogate will be implanted with an embryo already conceived from another woman’s eggs, thus she is not the biological mother of the child she’s carrying. The eggs may come from the to-be mother or a donor, and again, the sperm may come from the to-be father or a donor.
If you choose surrogacy, many issues can arise. It’s highly recommended that you speak to an experienced San Diego family law attorney and hammer out a binding legal agreement before the child is born, because you need to be prepared for anything.
We at Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C., want your surrogacy experience to be a pleasant one. If you want to speak to our San Diego surrogacy attorneys about your situation, please call (858) 458-9500 to schedule a free initial consultation.
What Potential Issues Do Couples Face?
The main fear most couples have when using a surrogate is that the surrogate might get attached to the baby and decide to not give the baby up. In other states, the surrogate might be within her rights to do so, but in California, soon-to-be parents can establish their parental rights early in the process to prevent any last-minute changes.
As soon as a surrogate is chosen, a pre-birth order should be drafted to ensure that the correct parents are listed on the birth certificate. Establishing this order can take months to complete, so it’s best to start the process as soon as the child is conceived or even beforehand.
Other issues that could arise include:
- Breach of contract: Most surrogacy contracts limit what the surrogate can do while pregnant. Problems can arise when a surrogate breaches a contract by smoking, abusing drugs, or drinking alcohol while pregnant. Agencies and prospective parents usually have other requirements for a surrogate, and if a surrogate lies about certain information in order to receive the commission by fraud, the potential parents may have a lawsuit on their hands.
- Unused eggs: Sometimes a couple’s relationship can run its course before they can find the right surrogate to carry their baby. If the couple opted for the gestational surrogate, the demise of a relationship can leave the couple at odds about what to do with the embryos that are waiting to be implanted. Having a plan in place ahead of time will help make the decision on what to do with the eggs in the event of a separation.
California is one of few states that provide protection for parents who choose surrogacy to carry their child. Most states will declare a woman who gives birth to be the legal mother of that child, and she must first terminate her parental rights before the surrogate parents can legally adopt the newborn. It doesn’t matter if the child she’s carrying is biologically hers or not.
Although this is a helpful precedent if you wish to work with a surrogate in San Diego, you still need an experienced reproductive lawyer to guide you through the process. Our team will ensure all necessary documents are ready to go, so all you have to do is focus on being a loving parent to a new baby.
Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C, is a top-tier family law firm that has been serving the San Diego area for over 35 years. We work diligently and professionally to achieve your desired results. If you wish to use a surrogate, contact our office at (858) 458-9500 to discuss your options and figure out the best plan that fits your family needs.