The most important legality when it comes to the surrogacy process is the surrogacy contract. Whether you are an intended parent or a prospective surrogate, you cannot legally move forward with your surrogacy arrangement until you sign a gestational surrogacy agreement in South Carolina — to protect you and all other parties in the process.
However, completing a surrogacy contract in South Carolina can be complicated, and you will need the assistance of an experienced surrogacy lawyer to do so. Attorney Jim Thompson has worked with many intended parents and prospective surrogates for their surrogacy contracts, and he can certainly do the same for you. Whether he represents intended parents’ interests himself or refers a prospective surrogate to her own legal counsel, he will make sure that all the necessary steps are followed when creating a surrogacy agreement.
To learn more about the surrogacy process and why a surrogacy contract is necessary, please call the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson at 864-573-5533 today. In the meantime, here are some of the important things you need to know about surrogacy contracts in South Carolina.
What’s Included in a Surrogacy Agreement
A surrogacy agreement is a legal contract between intended parents and a prospective surrogate to lay out expectations and address any possible risks or liabilities associated with the surrogacy process. It’s a document that protects all involved from potential complications.
There are a couple of areas that must be addressed in a surrogacy contract:
- Financial compensation: The base compensation of a surrogate must be legally negotiated and contracted. In addition, the surrogacy contract will address the surrogate’s pregnancy-related costs that must be paid by the intended parents.
- Risks and liabilities: Surrogacy is a complicated medical process that will come with some risks to the surrogate, as well as the health risks of any typical pregnancy. The surrogacy agreement will make sure she and the intended parents understand these and lay out procedures should any unforeseen complications arise.
- Expectations from both parties: When the surrogate becomes pregnant, she will have certain health and lifestyle standards she has to uphold (for example, no drugs or alcohol). These expectations will be laid out in the surrogacy agreement. Expectations for the intended parents will also be determined — how often they’ll contact the surrogate, what kind of relationship they will have with the surrogate and which doctor’s appointments they’ll attend. This contract will also discuss who will be present at the birth and how it will proceed.
- Sensitive issues: The surrogate and intended parents will have to come to an agreement on issues like selective termination and reduction before the medical processes even begin.
- Parentage orders: Attorney Jim Thompson and the surrogate’s attorney will ensure both parties are familiar with the parentage processes that will need to take place before and after the baby is born and what each party’s legal rights and responsibilities are.
Because each surrogacy is unique based on the situations of the intended parents and the surrogate, your surrogacy contract in South Carolina will be tailored to your individual surrogacy process. However, surrogacy contracts should all have one thing in common: they take into account various possible outcomes for the surrogacy and thoroughly addresses them.
How We Help You Create a Surrogacy Agreement
Unlike other surrogacy professionals who have to refer their intended parents to an outside surrogacy lawyer to complete their surrogacy agreement, when you work with the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, we can provide the legal services to complete the surrogacy contract, as well as provide general case management and other services for your surrogacy journey.
When drafting a gestational surrogacy agreement, intended parents and their surrogate must have separate lawyers to ethically and properly represent their interests. If you are an intended parent working with our Gestational Carrier Program, attorney Jim Thompson will represent you; if you are a prospective surrogate, we will refer to you another trusted surrogacy attorney in South Carolina. However, for cases that do not involve the Gestational Carrier Program at the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, Jim Thompson routinely represents surrogates, as well as intended parents.
Attorney Jim Thompson will draft the surrogacy contract and have it approved by the intended parents. Then, it will be sent to the surrogate’s attorney. After that attorney reviews it with the surrogate and makes any edits, the contract will be sent back to the intended parents for approval. This process will continue until each party is satisfied, and then it will be signed by the intended parents and surrogate to make it legally binding.
Only after the surrogacy contract is signed and notarized by all parties can the medical process of surrogacy begin. This is to memorialize the intentions of the intended parents and surrogates, before conception, as well as to ensure that all parties are aware of the potential risks and complications that can occur before starting the process — to protect them in case anything goes differently than planned. Many fertility clinics and surrogacy professionals will not complete the embryo transfer process unless a gestational surrogacy agreement is in place.
Begin Drafting Your Surrogacy Contract in S.C. Today
Whether you’re an intended parent or prospective surrogate, you will need an experienced attorney to help you complete this part of the surrogacy process. While you may be able to find a sample surrogacy contract online, you should not draft this agreement on your own. Without proper legal counsel addressing all potential issues with a surrogacy, you will be putting yourself and the other party in danger.
On the other hand, when you work with attorney Jim Thompson, you can be reassured that all of your legal interests will be protected and all legalities handled properly — not to mention be provided with our matching process and case management services, if needed. To learn more about our firm and get started with our surrogacy program, please contact us today.