Surrogates have significant legal rights that must be respected and protected. Otherwise, those important rights might be violated, possibly jeopardizing the enforeceability of the entire surrogacy arrangement.
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 any court proceedings. 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. If a pregnancy termination is requested, you will always have the final say. You should discuss this topic with the intended parent, the mental health counselor, and your lawyer.
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 the surrogacy arrangement.
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.