Financial Terms & Escrow Accounts
Every surrogacy arrangement should be formalized by a written agreement, also called a contract. Such a contract is essential in all cases. Your surrogacy agreement should contain the complete financial agreement between the intended parents and the surrogate. It should be very detailed and include specific amounts, triggering events, and due dates. Most surrogacy programs provide a compensation schedule, which is helpful for your attorney to have when preparing your agreement.
The use of a formal, independent escrow service is strongly recommended. Intended parents want to know that their money is safe and will be paid out only as directed by the written agreement. Surrogates want to know the money is safe and will be paid out in a timely manner as required by the written agreement. And in the event of a disagreement about payment, use of an independent escrow service may prevent more serious disagreements from arising. You do not want your escrow service to take sides.
On an emotional level, using an escrow service can be beneficial too. It can be good for the relationship between the surrogate and the intended parents, removing uncomfortable issues of money between them, allowing them to focus on their common ground: the pregnancy and the child.
The escrow account is typically funded prior to the first embryo transfer. The written agreement will tell the parties how much money should be in escrow, whether or not a minimum balance is required, when and to whom payments will be made, and how long funds will be held in escrow.