Surrogacy in America
With advancements in reproductive health coming in every day, surrogacy has become a rather popular method for individuals or couples to begin or add to their family. However, with conflicting state laws, no broad federal statute, and many different methods of surrogacy, the process can become submerged in legal jargon and protocols removing the joy of having a child. Therefore, your Orlando Child Custody Attorney has compiled some data and information regarding traditional surrogacy laws across America and specifically in our home state of Florida.
Overall, there are two types of surrogacy, traditional and gestational. The main difference between these two types of surrogacy is the biological connection between the surrogate, and the resulting child, or the intended parentage. In a traditional surrogacy process, the surrogate is the biological mother of the child and was artificially inseminated by the intended father or donor sperm or intends to be the parent of the child. In a gestational surrogacy process, the surrogate is artificially inseminated with a fertilized embryo, therefore, there is no biological connection between the surrogate and the child and no intent to parent the child. The cost of surrogacy is also a commonly debated topic as costs range between $90,000 to $150,000.
In America, some states allow both forms of surrogacy, while others only permit one and some states still have no laws or forbid the surrogacy process altogether. Further, those states that do permit a form of surrogacy have regulations as to who can engage in the process, limiting it to married couples, or those who have a medical diagnosis preventing reproduction. Finally, states also regulate the amount of payment that a surrogate may accept, a couple may pay, or an intermediary may charge. For instance, Michigan completely forbids surrogacy and criminally penalizes payments for such services; Nebraska prohibits payments for surrogacy services; and Louisiana is limited to gestational surrogacy between heterosexual married couples with no donated eggs or sperm permitted and compensation is forbidden.
Florida’s laws regarding surrogacy are found in Florida Statute Chapter 742. Florida allows for both traditional and gestational surrogacy, however, specific protocols must be followed in order to determine proper parental rights, compensation is limited, and law only permits married couples to engage in surrogacy procedures.
First, Florida requires each party involved in any surrogacy procedure to enter into some form of contract or waiver. For instance, those who provide the genetic material of an egg or sperm must relinquish their rights to any resulting child. Further, to engage in the surrogacy process, you must be married and the couple must contractually agree to the medical procedure or process. In regards to a gestational surrogacy procedure, before consulting with a surrogate, the couple must provide a reasonable medical diagnosis as to why a surrogate is needed. Therefore, without a medical necessity, Florida prohibits the use of a gestational surrogate. Then, the married couple and gestational surrogate must enter into a detailed contract prior to insemination. Finally, Florida limits payments to a surrogate to reasonable living, legal, medical, and psychological care.
While forming a family can come in many different ways, surrogacy has found its way to the forefront of the process and is providing individuals and couples with many different options to building or adding to their family. However, without proper understanding or knowledge of the law you could face a great deal of hardship. Therefore, it is important to seek counsel from an experienced Orlando Child Custody Attorney to ensure your rights to a child are protected through the method of surrogacy.
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