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Surrogates and Donors
Because you are embarking on the most important journey of your life, building your family, we are here to make sure everything goes right and you bring your baby home.
The Law Offices of Robert T. Terenzio services clients who utilize genetic or gestational surrogacy. The medical difference lies with the origin of the egg. With genetic surrogacy, the surrogate is the egg donor. With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate a.k.a. carrier, is not the egg donor. The eggs will come from you, the intended parent, or from an egg donation. The legal difference in Florida lies with the constitutional protection arising from maternity. With genetic surrogacy, the surrogate retains a right, for 48 hours, to change her mind. With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate cannot change her mind.
Surrogacy Legal Services
The heart of our services centers on surrogacy and the creation of legal documents to ensure that intended parents and their surrogates are adequately informed, represented and protected such that parentage is assured.
Here are five steps that need to be taken with each surrogacy agreement:
Step 1 - Agreement Drafted
First, the surrogacy agreement will be drafted, proofed and administered by an attorney who has expertise in the area.
Step 2 - Witnessed and Notarized
Second, we will ensure that all signatures will be witnessed and notarized to provide you, the court and all other parties notice that everyone is at the table voluntarily and knowingly.
Step 3 - Independent
Third, we insist that all parties will be represented by independent attorneys to provide the appropriate ethical distance between the parties and secure assurances that everyone understands their respective promises and legal rights.
Step 4 - Birth Process
Fourth, we will meet with the risk manager and or nurse administrator of the obstetric floor to ascertain the hospital’s understanding of the legal side of surrogacy and how they will administer the birth process.
Step 5 - Trustee
Fifth, it is inevitable that the relationship between you and your carrier will wax and wane. It is paramount that financial considerations never enter this relationship. To minimize such confounders we will direct to you a reputable trust company with an independent trustee.
All You Need To Know About
The Surrogacy Contract
The agreement sets the legal parameters of the relationship between you as a parent and your surrogate. Since the parties are working together toward a pregnancy and live birth, a good surrogacy agreement must be fair to all parties. From the parent’s perspective, a good agreement will confirm that the child(ren) is her/his/theirs from the moment of implantation.
Drafting a contract can typically take up to 10 business days. Intended Parents then meet with their attorney to ask questions and to personalize the Agreement.
There is a common misconception that if parent and surrogate each sign a medical consent, they are under contract. The reality is, however, that a consent merely directs the IVF clinic to provide services to the patient who signs it.
No, we cannot also represent your surrogate. Conflicts of interest may be fatal to an assignment of parentage. We want to avoid any appearance of impropriety. If asked, we can recommend other attorneys who are well versed in surrogacy law to represent her.
Once we know that the reproductive endocrinologist has cleared the Parties medically and psychologically, we start drafting the surrogacy contract. There are many details that the attorneys for both the intended parents and the surrogates must discuss with their respective clients.
If we have more law firms like the Law Offices of Robert T. Terenzio, it would help more parents to have their beautiful baby and complete their family dreams. Thanks very much to Robert for helping us complete our family."
Bobby and Charlie
For Egg Donors
Egg donors are motivated by their compassion and desire to help others create their family. The parties need legal protections necessary to make sure they experience the journey they desire. Intended parents relying upon egg donors want ownership of the eggs to ensure they have physical and legal custody of their children, regulate future contact with or by the donor and to access updated personal medical information. Disposition of unused frozen embryos is another important issue discussed in the legal contracts.
An Egg Donor helping intended parents will want to confirm that their transfer of ownership is absolute to insure that they are not the parents of any child born from those eggs, to clarify how the medical fees and costs are to be satisfied by the parents and how catastrophic outcomes are addressed. Typically a donor may participate up to six times. Regardless of the number of donations, donors should agree to future contact should a child of a donation be diagnosed with a disease process which is genetically linked to the donor.
Florida law supports donations by providing that so long as the donation is evidenced by a contract, the donation is absolute and neither the intended parent nor the donor should worry about the future of their privacy, the newborn or any remaining frozen eggs or embryos.
Egg Donors Contract
We create egg donation contracts when prospective parents have to use an egg donor to build their family. For a woman, coming to the realization that she won’t be able to use her own genetics and will need an egg donor, can be a very difficult choice. She most likely underwent other types of infertility treatment before deciding this was the best course of action. From the outset, male couples and single men understand they will need to find an egg donor.
The egg donor contract language addresses issues such as compensation, anonymity, access to updated medical information, disposition of excess frozen embryos and other pertinent issues. The egg donor will always have separate, independent counsel and we will work with her attorney to ensure that the final documents are reflective of each party’s intentions and responsibilities regarding medical expenses, the eggs and any resulting children.
It is estimated there are over 600,000 embryos in frozen storage in the United States. A small percentage of those embryos will be donated to other individuals who want to use embryo donation; sometimes called a “secondary donation.” Embryo recipients may have undergone previous unsuccessful infertility treatment and/or explored other options like egg donation, but may choose embryo donation because of financial, ethical or religious reasons.
All Parties to an embryo donation will want independent legal representation. Generally speaking, the transfer of genetic material from one to another is fraught with legal and ethical land mines. The last thing that a recipient will want to endure is a future claim by the so-called donor who has changed his or her mind. A common misconception is that medical consents will permit a transfer to occur. Well, it will permit the transfer to occur, however, it will not confirm who the legal Parents are of the child born of those embryos. It is imperative to confirm ownership of the embryos such to affirm the identify of the legal Parents of the child born.
Recently some Agencies have been promoting their so-called embryo adoption programs. Strictly speaking, Intended Parents need be aware that there is no legal construct called embryo adoption as the adoption statutes do not include embryos. The transfer of embryos is governed by the same rules as an egg donation.
"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 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.