Responsible Surrogacy

Information regarding the ethical aspects of the process

Surrogacy contracts, which define the details of the agreements between the parties, are legal papers signed by the parties and often by the agency and/or fertility clinic. These agreements vary between countries and even between different agencies in the same state. Naturally, the contract should be adjusted to fit the requirements set by both sides – and so it is very important the needs and desires of both sides are fully represented.


We recommend confirming that the surrogate will be represented by a lawyer independent of the agency, clinic and the intended parent’s legal representation. This should be done when formulating the contract. In Israel, for example, the committee that approves surrogacy agreements requires that the surrogate will be represented independently. When constructing this site, we found that in states that do not prohibit surrogacy in the United States, most agencies make sure that surrogates hire an independent lawyer*. In India, however, this is not common, and most surrogates receive the contract and don’t usually change any of it before signing. We also recommend incorporating within the contract any and all agreements reached between the parties, and particularly those related to the issues listed on this site.

 

* – The term “independent lawyer” in this context is complex. Since the agency usually recommends lawyers for the surrogate, these individuals might be at a conflict of interests. Serving their client best sometimes means going against the clinic’s interests – and this might lead to them losing future potential clients. Approaching a truly independent lawyer is also a problem, since he or she will usually have limited experience in the field of surrogacy. Another option is to approach a lawyer that usually works with a different agency. This is obviously the surrogate’s choice, but parents can definitely advise her to think about this (in a private conversation, with no agency involvement).

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