intended parents hire a lawyer to provide them with legal advice and draft a surrogacy or donor contract. but once that is complete, the other parties involved typically receive independent legal advice.
Why does a surrogate need a lawyer?
A surrogate's lawyer reviews her surrogacy agreement for her to ensure all essential items are included, such as stating clearly that she will not be considered to be a parent of the child she is going to carry for the intended parents. A surrogate's lawyer will advise her about rights, ensure she understands the agreement and is comfortable with it before signing, and propose possible changes to better meet her needs. For example, a lawyer for a surrogate may suggest that a surrogate be reimbursed on a more frequent basis than is stated in the agreement, or may help the parties refine what they would want to happen if a surrogate has a miscarriage and does not want to try again.
Donating genetic material is a big deal. If a child is born, there will be a lifelong connection whether or not the parties plan to stay in touch. A lawyer for the donor helps the donor think through the long term implications of donating, ensures the contract clearly states that the donor will not be responsible for child support, and confirms that the agreement accurately reflects the donors' wishes. The donor's lawyer will provide independent legal advice to ensure the donor's interests are thoroughly considered. This can include discussions about sharing medical information in the future, who gets to know about the donor's role in the child's conception, and whether the intended parents want to know if the donor decides to donate again in the future.
Embryo donation is when a person or couple donate surplus embryos to another person or couple for the purpose of having a child. The intended parents will typically hire a lawyer to draft an agreement, and the embryo donors receive independent legal advice about the agreement. The lawyer for the embryo donors reviews the contract, provides the donors with legal advice, and ensures the parties think about a variety of situations that could arise in the future and how they want to address them. The goal is to be proactive and thoughtful now in order to avoid potential conflicts in the future.
We will answer all your questions, and walk you through the entire process.
I’m Lisa Feldstein.
Lisa Feldstein is a fertility lawyer who has helped over a hundred people create families through assisted reproduction. She drafts surrogacy agreements, helps clients obtain birth certificates and passports for their babies, and provides legal advice to surrogates, gamete donors and fertility clinics.
Lisa has presented on reproductive law at numerous institutions including the University of Toronto, Mount Sinai Hospital, Markham Fertility Centre and the 519 Church Street Community Centre. She is also an adjunct professor of Health Care Law at York University, and wrote a book chapter on Reproductive Health Law.
Lisa has been widely published and interviewed in the media, including in the Canadian Journal of Family Law, CTV, and the National Post. The feedback Lisa most loves hearing from clients is that she made the process feel simple.
Lisa has been widely published and interviewed in the media, including in the Canadian Journal of Family Law, CTV, and the National Post.The feedback Lisa most loves hearing from clients is that she made the process feel simple.
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