Surrogates have significant legal rights that must be respected. Otherwise, not only will the surrogate’s rights be violated, the enforceability of the entire surrogacy arrangement could be jeopardized.
First and foremost, you have a right to an attorney of your choice to fully represent you in the negotiation of an agreement with the intended parents and during the court proceedings, and to work with you if disputes arise during the pregnancy. Your attorney should not be restricted in their fees or the amount of time they get to work with you. A surrogacy agreement should not limit your attorney fees to a certain number. This practice is viewed by most attorneys as an unethical limitation on a surrogate’s right to an attorney. It could also negatively affect the quality of legal services you receive, if your attorney feels rushed or obligated to keep their fees under an unreasonable amount.
You have a right to select your doctors and the hospital or birthing center where you will deliver. Sometimes, the right to select your doctors and hospital may have some qualifications attached, such as making sure that there is a high-risk pregnancy specialist available and a neo-natal intensive care unit at the hospital, but those qualifications are for everyone’s protection.
You have the right to make your own medical decisions. While you will be discussing with your attorney, your doctor, the clinic, and the intended parents when and if a pregnancy may need to be terminated, you always retain the right to make that decision. No one can force you to terminate a pregnancy or continue on with a pregnancy.
You may have the right to receive financial compensation or reimbursement, depending on the terms of the surrogacy agreement and the laws of the state in which you reside or the laws that will govern the agreement. You may also have the right to life and disability insurance, at the intended parents’ expense, to insure you and your family against your death during pregnancy or delivery, injury as a result of the pregnancy, or loss of your fertility. You may have the right to reimbursement for clothing, lost wages, housekeeping, and child care while on bed rest and other costs associated with your service to the intended parents as a surrogate.
Your attorney will help you identify all of your rights as a surrogate. An attorney from the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) will have the experience and knowledge to make sure you are treated fairly and that your rights are protected throughout the surrogacy process. Find an attorney in our Directory.