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What Intended Parents and Surrogates Need to Make Clear from the Beginning

Perhaps you’re already well underway to becoming a parent through surrogacy. You’ve decided that surrogacy is the right alternative parenting option for you, you’ve found your surrogate, and you’ve enlisted the help of a legal professional to draw up your agreement.

It’s tempting to think this means you’re job in actively shaping your surrogacy journey is over. Now it’s merely a matter of agreeing to compensation terms and legal obligations, and you can let your lawyer take the lead, right?

Not necessarily.

Merely allowing the terms of the contract to guide your relationship with your surrogate can leave some key matters unaddressed. To be sure, a properly drafted surrogacy agreement is complex and heavily detailed, establishing a legal framework which sets forth a plan of action to navigate a wide range of contingencies. But there are some considerations which aren’t covered in a surrogacy contract that play an equally significant role in building a relationship of trust and support with your surrogate.

Perhaps most importantly, you and your surrogate must be on the same page regarding the degree to which you’ll be involved throughout the pregnancy. Some intended parents work side-by-side with their surrogates throughout the full duration of the pregnancy term, while others essentially disappear until after birth – and do so for varying reasons.

You might wish to be as engaged as your surrogate will allow, keeping up-to-date on each and every medical appointment, and doing all you can to ensure your surrogate lives a life of health, peace, and comfort as she carries your child to term. As part of this, you might sit down with your surrogate to plan an exercise and nutrition program, and provide extra payment to enable your surrogate to eat and live as healthily as possible. Following the birth, you may even want to continue to send your surrogate updates and birthday pictures so she can continue to share in the new life she helped to create.

By contrast, you might understandably wish to remove yourself emotionally and psychologically from your surrogate, so that the child feels more truly your own. Perhaps you prefer to seek medical updates through a third-party agency only, and don’t want any contact with the surrogate following your child’s birth.

Whichever course you choose, these are details which must be worked out with your surrogate in addition to the terms and conditions set forth in your legal agreement. Some surrogates will want you involved throughout the pregnancy; others won’t. When selecting your surrogate and before executing an agreement, you should have an open, honest conversation about what each side wants the relationship to look like. Doing so will help to ensure a healthy relationship with your surrogate — in whatever form that relationship takes.