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  • Writer's pictureRalph M. Tsong

What to Expect When You're in the Legal Stage: Intended Parents' Perspective

intended parents legal stage

In our previous blog, we discussed the legal stage from the perspective of the gestational surrogate. Now, as surrogacy lawyers, we explain what we do for intended parents in the legal stages of your surrogacy journey.

  1. Choosing the Right Attorney. If you are working with a surrogacy agency, they will assist in matching you with a Gestational Carrier (GC) and provide referrals to attorneys experienced in drafting surrogacy agreements and obtaining parentage judgments. Selecting the right attorney can take your mind off all the legal aspects of surrogacy. We have a blog article here on what to look for. Prior to selecting your attorney, you may wish to consult with the attorney to get an idea of the legal process in the state of your surrogate. We always offer free consultations for surrogacy law.

  2. Representation Agreement and Drafting Stage. You will next need to sign the representation agreement with your chosen attorney. Our representation agreement will identify the parties, the state where the contract is going to be drafted, and the fee for drafting and for the parentage order, if we will be responsible for one. Once this representation agreement is signed and we are informed you are ready to proceed with contracts, Tsong Law Group (TLG) will usually take 1-2 weeks to draft the surrogacy agreement based on the term sheet/benefit package provided by the agency. If you are doing an independent journey, we will supply you with a blank match sheet for you to complete ahead of time, with your surrogate’s approval.

  3. Reviewing the Surrogacy Agreement. Once you receive the draft of the agreement, you will be able to easily schedule an appointment online with TLG. Your review meeting with TLG will be over the phone or on an online platform like Zoom. Before your review appointment, you should read the drafted agreement and write down questions or changes you might have. The contract review will typically take about an hour, so allow for that amount of time. This will be the time to address any questions or concerns you have with the contract.

  4. Negotiating and Finalizing the Agreement. Following your review, our attorneys will incorporate any requested changes into a new draft. This redline will be sent to you and will need your approval. This approved draft is not ready for signing, it will next be sent to the surrogate’s attorney for their review with the surrogate. So, it will take a few days or longer for the surrogate attorney to review with their clients and return another redline, or in some cases, an approval with no changes. If there are additional redlines, you will have a chance to review and accept or disapprove of changes. Once every party has no more changes to the contract, a final version will be sent for signing.

  5. Signing the Agreement. Depending on state requirements, the final contract may need to be signed in the presence of a notary public. If you are abroad, we can set up a web notary appointment if a web notary is acceptable to the courts. You may be able to use a web notary if you are in the US, but check if it could be an issue with the court for the pre-birth order process.

  6. Obtaining Legal Clearance. Once all parties have signed the agreement, our firm ensures that the GC’s attorney provides legal clearance. This clearance is crucial for initiating the embryo transfer process, as we prepare the necessary documentation for the clinic when GC signs, the GC’s attorney sends us a legal clearance letter. Once all parties have signed, we prepare and send our own legal clearance letter to the clinic to begin the embryo transfer.

  7. Preparing for the Pre-Birth Order (PBO). After legal clearance, there is usually a lull in activity on the legal front. If issues arise during your surrogacy journey, you can always contact us for advice. The next major step is the parentage order, often called the PBO. You can read about PBOs here. Once we receive notice of a pregnancy, we calendar the due date. In most states we work in, we get started before the 20th week of pregnancy. This is so there is adequate time to prepare the pre-birth order and receive a judgment from the court.

  8. Reviewing and Signing PBO Documents. Once the PBO documents are prepared, we send them to GC’s attorney for them to review and sign with their clients. GC’s attorney will approve of the documents before we send them to you to review before signing. Some counties allow for electronic signatures which makes filing the PBO faster and more convenient. These documents will then be filed with the court, where we will wait for a signed judgment. In some counties, we also have to request background checks which will require your consent.

  9. Final Steps and Notifying the Hospital.  Once the PBO has been accepted by the court and a judgment issues, we contact the chosen hospital to provide them with a copy of the judgment and a hospital letter explaining the surrogacy arrangement. We often will provide GC with one certified copy of the judgment to bring with her in case the hospital does not have their own copy. In some cases, the intended parents cannot arrive at the hospital, so a power of attorney may be necessary to authorize someone else to pick up and care for the child until their arrival.

Once the PBO goes to the hospital, our role is typically done, though we will assist with speaking with the hospital social workers if they have questions. At the end of your long journey, we are glad to be a part and hope you share us a baby picture with us.

Our surrogacy lawyers are licensed in California, New York, Illinois, Washington, Arizona, and Oklahoma. As a top-rated firm in client satisfaction, we strive to make every surrogacy journey seamless. Contact us today.


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