Monday-Friday 9am-5pm Saturday-Sunday Closed
For Intended Parents
Providing compassionate, personalized and affordable legal services for intended parents who are using in vitro fertilization (IVF) with surrogacy and/or egg donation.
When you are trying to start a family through means other than conventional conception, the last things you need to worry about are the legal issues. But that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore them.
Because you’ve already been through so much by the time you contact us, we want to take the guess work out of surrogacy and make your journey as stress-free as possible.
The most effective way we can inform, support and protect you is by drafting and executing a legally sound surrogacy contract, one which reflects your needs and intentions as intended parents.
Getting Started is simple and you are under no obligation.
You only have to make a phone call. We regularly provide lengthy, detailed, and necessary responses to any questions posed to us via phone, email or a scheduled ZOOM consultation. We will not only to describe the legal framework for surrogacy, but also fill in any gaps that might exist about how the process is administered. Reach out to us and asking us the questions most important to you.
When should we start the legal process?
It is imperative there be an agreement so everyone knows what is expected of all Parties. Typically, our discussion is more informal at the beginning. We do not start the legal paperwork until the doctor is ready to start the cycle. We put pen to paper once we have an idea of when treatment will begin. The doctor also wants assurances that all legal requirements are fulfilled before starting the cycle. Conversely, we won’t start drafting a surrogacy contract until the Parties have passed their medical and psychological screening, nor an egg donor contract until the donor has passed her medical and psychological screening.
Should I find an agency and/or a surrogate before finding a lawyer?
It’s a 50/50 proposition. Many clients call me before they even know they will need an agency or have seen a doctor. The other half already have found an agency and/or have been treated in the past by a fertility specialist. There is no set pattern about when people call our office. I think we can all agree however, that the fertility specialist will provide direction toward what you will need to pursue.
What is the difference between traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy?
Medically, the difference is where the egg comes from. With a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is also the egg donor. With a gestational surrogacy, the surrogate does not contribute her eggs. The legal implication may vary from state to state. More generally, because the traditional surrogate is a genetic contributor to the child, she can change her mind and keep the child within a finite period of time from the birth.
What is our contact with you after we have signed the Surrogacy Agreement?
We are always available to you during your surrogacy or egg donation journey. When an agency is involved, they will let us know how the pregnancy is progressing. If not, you will need to inform us of any occurrence. We need to have a confirmation of a fetal heartbeat and the projected date of the baby’s arrival so we can prepare for the eventual birth.
In the third trimester, we get busy again. Now we have a new party to bring into the mix — the hospital. We want the hospital to understand and appreciate the Florida surrogacy statutes and to recognize you, not your surrogate, as parent. Immediately upon birth, the hospital will place a security band around your baby’s ankle and place a matching band around your wrist. The security band is the only way to get in or out of the nursery or NICU, or for the babies to be discharged from the hospital to you. We want to make sure you get banded and not the surrogate. Some hospitals, however, will band the surrogate because of the manner they bill expenses. When that occurs, we arrange that her band does not permit access to the child absent consent from you. We will also point out to the Hospital that as the Parents of the newborn, you are responsible for the post-birth baby expenses. To that end, you will need to bring insurance information so your health insurance company can be billed.
What is the process for obtaining a birth certificate?
The process for obtaining a birth certificate is generally the same regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation, marital status, nationality or place of residence. We will go to court and provide the Judge with documentation of the surrogacy arrangement: a copy of the signed surrogacy agreement and an affidavit from your IVF clinic demonstrating that the child was born from your embryos. We receive from the court an order to confirm your parentage and to seal the court records from public scrutiny. Finally, we deliver the court order to the Department of Vital Statistics, who generate a birth certificate reflecting your name(s) without any reference to the surrogate or surrogacy.
International and same sex couples may require additional steps. International couples may, due to local convention or rule, not have the non-biological spouse/partner recognized as a parent of the child. Same-sex couples may not feel comfortable with an administrative recognition of the non-biological spouse/partner as a parent of the child. Both of these fact patterns can be resolved through a second or step-parent adoption. Of course, when we complete an adoption for you, we will amend the original birth certificate to reflect the legal reality of having two parents.
For international couples, we regularly work with attorneys in their respective countries so that the Parental Order and Birth Certificate reflect the requirements of the home countries.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The benefit of having an attorney independent of any agency or escrow company working on the match is that the attorney remains faithful to his or her client to the exclusion of anything else. There is no conflict of interest. As your attorney, we remain available to call the clinic, opposing counsel, the agency and/or escrow management company to resolve any problem you are having.
Fortunately, we intervene infrequently because the clinics, agencies and escrow companies we deal with are transparent, ethical and have been around for a long time. But when problems occur, we are on the phone advocating for you.
"Hey, we’re pregnant!"
The best part of my week is hearing that from clients.
- Robert T. Terenzio, Esq.
Owns a law firm that exclusively practices in assisted reproductive technology law. Over the many years Robert has been in this field, he noticed that the best support he could provide his clients was to provide them a stable legal framework within which to pursue parentage, plentiful and transparent information on the ART processes and unwavering support and counsel throughout their journey.