Your best guide and advocate in your surrogacy, egg donation, or other assisted reproduction matter is your attorney. Your attorney will answer questions, ensure your legal rights are protected, and provide support throughout the process. How do you find the right attorney?
- Experience matters. Your attorney should have extensive experience with your type of case. Ask how many similar cases he or she has handled in the past year or in the past five years. Ask the outcome of these cases. Were they successful? Were there roadblocks? The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) requires that its Fellows have extensive and diverse experience in assisted reproduction. The AAAA Directory is a great place to start to find an experienced surrogacy or assisted reproduction lawyer.
- Applicable laws. Your attorney should be licensed in the state where your contract will be enforced: in surrogacy, that will likely be the state where the baby will be born. In donation matters, the controlling law may be the state where the fertility clinic is located or where the baby will be born. If you are unsure, ask your potential attorney if they are licensed in the right state for your needs. You can verify your attorney’s license online on your state bar website.
- What clients say. See what others have to say about your attorney. Google them. Look at their website and check out their reviews. Look on Facebook, Avvo, Yelp, and Martindale Hubbell to see what other families have to say about the attorney, and ask local ART-related organizations for referrals. Talk to others who have gone through your type of ART matter and get referrals. Ask lots of questions.
- A good fit. Talk to the prospective attorney via phone, video conference, and/or email. Ask how the process will work and any other questions you may have. Do you understand the answers? Do your communication styles fit? Make sure you find someone you trust and with whom you will enjoy working.
- Cost. Understand the cost of the assisted reproduction arrangement you are considering including legal fees.