Throughout the surrogacy process, both surrogates and intended parents alike will agree to specific terms and enter into legally-binding contracts. Though it’s necessary and worth it in the end, it can be overwhelming to consider all the legal intricacies at hand, particularly for those who attempt to go through the process without official legal counsel and without the help of an experienced agency. In the United States, where each state handles surrogacy a bit differently, it’s even more important to fully understand how to protect yourself as surrogate and/or intended parent throughout the process. Recent natural disaster, Hurricane Irma, has brought to light just one of many complications that can occur for surrogates.

State of Residency is Key in Surrogacy Agreements

Ellen Trachman, managing attorney of a Denver-based law firm, published an article recently outlining the legal obstacles that many surrogates faced during their necessary evacuations from Florida in light of Hurricane Irma. She notes that a standard agreement in any surrogacy contract is for the surrogate not to leave her state of residence during pregnancy. This is crucial because parental rights to the child are generally determined by the state in which he is born. For example, a surrogate spending time in certain states outside of her residency (Michigan, for example) would become legal mother to the child if she gave birth there. In other words, intended parents could lose their agreed-upon parental rights simply because the birth happened in a state outside of their agreement. There can also be extreme changes in medical costs depending on if the surrogate must end up using healthcare out of her insurance network. At the same time, it’s clear that surrogates who leave an area when a mass evacuation occurs is being ethical and responsible. She is doing what’s best for her health and the baby’s.

How to Protect Yourself from Complications Out of Your Control

Unpredictable events such as hurricanes and other natural disasters are challenging enough in and of themselves. However, one of the benefits of choosing to go through the surrogacy process in California is that the state recently amended laws to ensure that almost any surrogacy case involving the state must legally be tried there. In other words, if a surrogate must travel out of state, as could be the case with the recent fires, California laws still apply. The surrogate can safely leave and temporarily relocate elsewhere, knowing that all protections afforded to her under California state laws will continue to protect her elsewhere. Moreover, intended parents can rest assured that, even if the baby is born elsewhere, they will still be named the legal parents of the child. California is the only state that does this.

To protect surrogates and intended parents from the additional obstacles brought on by natural disasters and catastrophic events, attornies creating surrogacy contracts should incorporate natural disaster contingency plans into agreements between surrogates and intended parents. Although this matters to a lesser degree to people in California, it’s paramount for people going through the surrogacy process in other parts of the country with less progressive laws.

Surrogates Can Trust in SPS for Expert Guidance

Surrogate Parenting Services (SPS) has the advantage of being a surrogate agency in California, the state with the most liberal and accommodating surrogacy laws in the United States. Because California allows intended parents to establish legal parentage before the child is born, both parties can rest assured that fewer complications will arise when it comes time for delivery (natural disaster or otherwise). For all other legal maneuvers, expert mentors at SPS will be with you every single step of the way to make sure both surrogates and intended parents understand all the proceedings and options available. For more information on how to get started being a surrogate, contact SPS at (949) 397-6855.