When considering surrogacy, there are many important decisions to make. One of the most important is deciding when to hire a surrogacy attorney. A surrogacy attorney is a professional who can provide guidance and advice on all aspects of the legal process of surrogacy. Knowing when to hire a surrogacy attorney is crucial to ensure that all parties involved are protected and that the surrogacy process goes as smoothly as possible.
In this blog post, guest expert Attorney Kimberly Surratt discusses what you need to know about when to hire your surrogacy attorney.
Hiring Your Surrogacy Attorney
If you have decided that surrogacy is for you, after considering your other options, you probably aren’t sure where to start.
You may think an attorney is the last person you should seek to hire, but consulting with an attorney at the beginning of your surrogacy journey is one of the first decisions you should make.
You could hire your fertility clinic first, but what if you live in a country or state where you are worried about whether you will be a parent at the end of the process? The fertility doctor won’t be able to answer your parentage and citizenship questions.
If you hire a surrogacy agency first but don’t get the fertility clinic to start on your embryos, you may be matched with a surrogate and risk losing your surrogate. Surrogates and Agencies prefer to know the quality and number of viable embryos you have available to transfer.
If you reside in a country other than the United States, it is essential that you start with an attorney in your home country. Do not spend money on an agency, a United States Attorney, or a fertility clinic until you know if you can safely bring your child home with full citizenship in your home country and with your parentage established. It will be a waste of money for you to hire a clinic or agency first.
For non-United States citizens, it is important that you not skip the step of retaining an attorney in your home country just because you have friends that came home with their surrogacy baby with no problems. Your friends are not a substitute for solid legal advice. The surrogacy laws in each country are ever-changing. The law easily could have changed from when your friends returned home and by the time you eventually return home with your child.
For intended parents in the United States, it is not as critical to start with an attorney. However, signing a contract without consulting an attorney to review the agreement and answer your legal questions is ill-advised.
The critical time for all intended parents to retain legal counsel in the United States is before you spend money on screening a surrogate until you know how your parentage will be established. Some states in the United States are anti-surrogacy and will not be a good fit. Your agency should not show you surrogate profiles who live in states where you can’t establish your parentage, but you cannot trust that an agency has it right, and the only way to know is to speak to an attorney.
It never hurts to check in with an attorney throughout your entire journey.
They are a wealth of information and resources that you may not realize you need. Speaking to an attorney means you will be better protected from mistakes and receive the advice you need to achieve parentage.
You don’t have to retain an attorney until you have an actual need, but you can do just a consult. A consult can be gold!
Get more information
Thanks to our friends at Surratt Law Practice for their insight into the best time to retain an attorney for your surrogacy journey. If you are considering surrogacy as an option to start or expand your family, it’s important to understand the legal implications and ensure that you have the right legal guidance throughout the journey. Whether you are a citizen of the United States or another country, the laws surrounding surrogacy can be complex and ever-changing, and consulting with an experienced attorney can be invaluable.
About Kimberly Surratt, Esq.
Kimberly Surratt is the past president of the State Bar of Nevada Family Law Section and the Nevada Justice Association. She sits on the Board of Trustees for the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys and is the chair of the domestic lobbying committee. She has lobbied with the Nevada Justice Association since 2004. And is responsible for all Assisted Reproduction Laws in the State of Nevada to date.