When facing decisions about surrogacy and reproductive law in Florida, having experienced and compassionate legal counsel helps to ensure a positive outcome for you and your family. Navigating the many avenues and circumstances related to surrogacy under the Florida Reproductive Law can be challenging on your own, but the legal team at our family law firm is dedicated to representing your interests while devising an appropriate legal solution.
The family law attorneys in Gainesville, FL, with The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates are available for legal counsel concerning surrogacy agreements; fertility treatments, embryo storage and custody, and sperm, egg and embryo donation. Contact our office today to request a free legal consultation.
What Is Surrogacy?
There are two types of surrogacy that our surrogacy attorneys provide legal counsel for, including gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy occurs when an egg is removed from the female and is fertilized with the male’s sperm. The fertilized egg becomes an embryo that is placed in a surrogate female, or surrogate mother, who carries the baby until delivery. Under Florida law, the intended parents as responsible for the fetus during gestational surrogacy, as the surrogate mother has no biological relation.
Traditional surrogacy is referred to in the state of Florida as a preplanned adoption agreement. These cases can become quite complex because the surrogate must surrender parental rights. Note that in a preplanned adoption, the surrogate mother is provided a brief window in which the agreement may be withdrawn. If that happens, the surrogacy case is entered into a court of law to determine custody and parental rights.
Representation Of Intended Parents
Our family law attorneys represent intended parents with compassion and the understanding that every couple travels a unique journey to reach parenthood. Our clients range from couples to single parents. Here are some of the intended parent scenarios we can assist with:
- Single men
- Single women who cannot safely carry a child to term
- Same-sex male couples
- Same-sex female couples that cannot carry a child themselves
- Heterosexual couples that are unable to conceive or carry a child
Gestational Surrogacy Agreements Under Florida Law
Florida Statute §742.15 on gestational surrogacy outlines the process of deriving egg and sperm from intended parents, fertilizing the egg, and then transferring the embryo to the uterus of a surrogate mother. A Gestational Surrogacy Agreement states that genetic material must be provided from at least one commissioning parent, and no genetic material may be supplied by the surrogate mother; these rules are designed to protect the parental rights of the intended parent(s). To ensure all parties are protected, an agreement between the intended parent(s) and surrogate mother should be drafted by an experienced attorney.
Pre-Planned Adoption Agreements Under Florida Law
Florida Statute §63.213 is an agreement in which a surrogate mother carries a child but agrees to relinquish parental rights to the intended parents. This statute is used by married and especially unmarried intended parents. (Alternatively, Gestational Surrogacy Agreements require the intended parents to be married.) The surrogate mother consents to an adoption consent when signing the Pre-Planned Adoption Agreement, and thereby releases her parental rights over the baby. That decision may only be rescinded if the child is genetically related to the surrogate, in which case the mother would be allowed 48 hours after the birth of the child to withdraw her consent. Additionally, the surrogate could revoke her permission if she had sexual relations at a time when she was restricted from doing so; however, this would also place her in breach of the contract.
Pre- & Post-Birth Orders
Before the birth of the child, the intended parents are required to obtain a court order that circumscribes their parental rights and parentage over the child. A post-birth order serves as a legal aid that the Florida Vital Statistics Office uses to place the names of the intended parent on the birth certificate.
Surrogacy Donor Contract Review
For most matters of surrogacy, egg, sperm, or embryo donation, it is legally required that a reproduction attorney represent the intended parents. It may also be a requirement for the surrogate or donor to have their own legal counsel. Note that the intended parents and the donor or surrogate should have separate attorneys to guarantee that each side has adequate legal representation. The attorneys may also mediate any contractual conflicts. All fees for legal services concerning the drafting of the contract, as well as other matters related to the contract, are expected to be paid for by the intended parents.
Surrogacy compensation is outlined during the contract drafting and review phases, along with the following compensatory issues:
- Surrogate fee
- Monthly expense allowance
- One-year term life insurance policy
- Embryo transfer
- Multiple pregnancies
- Invasive procedures
- Maternity clothing
- Cesarean section
- Health insurance premiums
How Our Family Law Attorneys Can Help Your Case
A family law attorney provides the necessary legal counsel for matters regarding surrogacy and donations of genetic material on behalf of intended parents. The Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates will guide you step by step through the legal requirements in the surrogacy process. As experienced surrogacy attorneys in Gainesville, we know that each case is as unique as the clients we represent. Throughout your case, you’ll receive our personal attention, compassion, and dedication to reach a satisfactory outcome for your family. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.