Frequently Asked Questions

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Surrogacy Law FAQs

What is the purpose of a Surrogacy Agreement?

Surrogacy agreements are the first stage in a two-step process. The purpose of the surrogacy agreement is to allow each party to state their intentions, and their responsibilities to one another. The agreement will clearly state that the surrogate does not intend on parenting any resulting child(ren) and does not wish to have physical or legal custody of any resulting child(ren). The surrogacy agreement will also define the rights and responsibilities of the assisted parents.

Do all states have similar laws regarding surrogacy?

Each state has different laws regarding surrogacy. It is important for you to be aware of not only the laws regarding surrogacy, but also about the laws regarding how to establish yourselves as parents within that state. International Fertility Law Group has experienced attorneys throughout the United States.

Explain how a surrogacy agreement is prepared.

Preparing and finalizing your surrogacy agreement involves several steps. The following briefly describes the process from start to finish:

  • We’ll first send you a written attorney services agreement to review. It will explain the services we will provide and the cost. Sign and date it, and send it back to our office with your payment.
  • Once we have received your signed attorney services agreement, we’ll start work.
  • If you intend to use a surrogate, then once you have a match, and your surrogate is medically cleared to proceed, we will prepare the first draft of your surrogacy agreement and send it to you for review. Read it carefully, and call or email us with your questions, comments or suggested revisions. To avoid delay, it is a good idea for you to plan to review the agreement and contact us within two days after you receive it.
  • Next, the surrogate will receive your approved draft of the agreement for review with an attorney. If the surrogate requests any changes, we’ll review them and send you a redlined version, showing the requested changes. We will advise you accordingly, negotiate any revisions as needed, finalize the agreement, and send it out to all parties with signing instructions.
  • Once we receive signatures from all parties, we will issue a “legal clearance” letter to inform your IVF Physician that you are legally cleared to proceed with your cycle.

If you will be using an egg donor as well as a surrogate, please see our Egg Donation FAQ page for a step-by-step explanation of how egg donor agreements are prepared.

Approximately how long will it take to finalize this agreement?

The finalization and execution of your surrogacy agreement can take three to four weeks, depending on how quickly the drafts of the agreement are reviewed and approved. We start working on the agreement once the surrogate is medically cleared, and we generally are able to produce a draft of your surrogacy agreement within three to four days of receiving the signed attorney services agreement and the necessary information regarding your match with your surrogate. We must then account for the time needed for you to review the agreement, as well as the time needed for the surrogate to review the agreement.

Must our Surrogacy Agreement be signed before our surrogate undergoes injectable medications?

Most IVF physicians’ offices require a surrogacy agreement to be in place before your surrogate commences injectable medications. It is always best to have a surrogacy agreement in place as soon as possible.

Approximately how much will the drafting of the agreement cost?

We offer single-price, all-inclusive service packages, as well as reasonable hourly rates. Please call our office for further pricing information.

Must an attorney represent my surrogate?

It is in both your and your surrogate’s best interest to have an attorney knowledgeable about surrogacy law explain the agreement.

Can the surrogate assert her parental rights at some point in the future?

The purpose of the surrogacy agreement is to allow each party to state their intentions and to clearly state that the surrogate DOES NOT intend to have parental rights to the child and DOES NOT wish to have physical or legal custody of the child. The second stage of the process requires a parental order, most often in court, during which any rights of the surrogate (and her husband, if she is married) are terminated and the intended parents’ parental rights are confirmed.

What is the difference between Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy?

In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not biologically related to any resulting child(ren). This type of surrogacy involves eggs (from an intended mother, or an egg donor) fertilized in vitro (“in vitro fertilization,” or “IVF”).  Once fertilized, these embryos are transferred to the uterus of the surrogate. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s own eggs are used to conceive the child, so she is biologically related to the resulting child(ren). The procedure used to establish the pregnancy is generally referred to as “intrauterine insemination,” or “IUI,” although IVF and embryo transfer can also be used with a traditional surrogate.

I do not live in the Los Angeles area. Will I need to travel to your office?

Because all of our work is completed via email, fax, phone/video conferencing, FedEx and U.S. mail, you never need to come to our office, although of course you are very welcome to visit us any time.

Egg Donation FAQs

What is the purpose of an egg donation agreement?

An egg donation agreement exists so that each party can state their intentions and acknowledge their legal responsibilities to one another. The agreement will also clearly state that the donor does not intend to parent any resulting child(ren) and does not wish to have physical or legal custody of any resulting eggs, embryos or child(ren).

Do all states have similar laws on egg donation?

Each state has different laws on egg donation. It is important for you to know not only the laws regarding egg donation, but also the laws on the steps you will need to take to establish yourselves as parents within that state. International Fertility Law Group has experienced attorneys throughout the United States.

Explain how an egg donation agreement is prepared.

Preparing and finalizing your egg donation agreement involves several steps. The following briefly describes the process from start to finish:

  • We’ll first send you a written attorney services agreement to review. It will explain the services we will provide and the cost. Sign and date it, and send it back to our office with your payment.
  • Once we have your signed attorney services agreement, we’ll start work.
  • We’ll prepare the first draft of your egg donation agreement and send you a copy for review. Read it carefully, and call or email us with your questions, comments or suggested revisions. You should plan to review the agreement and contact us within two days after you receive it, to keep the process moving forward without delays.
  • The egg donor will receive your approved draft for review with an attorney. If the egg donor requests any changes, we’ll review them and send you a redlined version, showing the requested changes. We will advise you accordingly, negotiate any needed revisions, finalize the agreement and send it out for signature with signing instructions.
  • Once we receive signatures from all parties, we will issue a “legal clearance” letter to inform your IVF Physician that you are legally cleared to proceed with your cycle.

If you will be using a surrogate as well as an egg donor, please see our Surrogacy Agreement FAQs tab above for a step-by-step explanation of how surrogacy agreements are prepared.

Approximately how long will it take to finalize the agreement(s)?

The finalization of your egg donation agreement can take anywhere from two to three weeks, depending on how quickly the drafts of the agreement are reviewed and approved. We start working on the agreement once the donor is medically cleared, and we are generally able produce a draft of your egg donation agreement within 48 hours of receiving the signed attorney services agreement and the necessary information regarding your match with your egg donor. We must then account for the time needed for you to review the agreement, as well as the time needed for the egg donor to review the agreement.

Must our agreement be signed before our egg donor undergoes injectable medications?

Most IVF Physician’s offices require an egg donation agreement to be signed before your egg donor begins injectable medications. It is always best to have an egg donation agreement prepared and signed as soon as possible.

Approximately how much will the drafting of the agreement(s) cost?

We offer single-price, all-inclusive service packages, as well as reasonable hourly rates. Please call our office for further pricing information.

Must an attorney represent our egg donor?

It is in your and your egg donor’s best interest to have an attorney who is knowledgeable about egg donation law explain the agreement to your egg donor.

Can the egg donor assert her parental rights at some point in the future?

Pursuant to the egg donation agreement, the eggs belong to the intended parents from the moment of retrieval, so it is extremely unlikely that an egg donor could assert any parental rights.

Is it possible for either us or our child to meet the egg donor at some point in the future?

If meeting in the future or having the possibility of future contract is desired, then before a match is made, you should make sure the donor knows this (or lists in her profile that she is open to this). If the donor agrees to your request, we will write the necessary language into the egg donation agreement.

How do you sign an egg donation agreement when the arrangement is anonymous?

Most egg donation agreements refer to the parties by an identification number. As such, you would sign the agreement with your identification number.

I do not live in the Los Angeles area. Will I need to travel to your office?

Because all of our work is completed via email, fax, phone/video conferencing, FedEx and U.S. mail, you never need to come to our office, although of course you are very welcome to visit us any time.

Parental Establishment FAQs

Explain the parental establishment confirmation process.

The parental establishment confirmation process aims to establish your rights as parent(s) and terminate the rights your surrogate (and the surrogate’s husband, if she is married) may be presumed to have under law. The process generally begins once you are safely into the second trimester and in the fourth month of the pregnancy. At that time we will schedule a consultation with you to go over the next steps of the process, discuss the documents that will be prepared, and begin collecting information from you, your surrogate and your IVF physician that we will need to insert into the parentage documents. In the following month, we will draft and file documents for your case in the appropriate state agency or court. In some states, we are allowed to file the matter before the birth and obtain a “pre-birth order”; in others, state law requires that we file for the parental order after the birth and attend a court hearing. International Fertility Law Group has experienced reproductive law attorneys available throughout the United States. The judges who review these types of parental establishment cases are familiar with the subject matter and are generally on a first-name basis with our attorneys. Barring any extraordinary circumstances, a pre-birth order is generally issued two to five weeks after the matter is filed, and in “post-birth” states a post-birth order is generally issued the same day as the post-birth hearing. Certified copies of the parental order confirming your legal rights as parent(s) to your baby are generally available to you shortly thereafter.

What happens if I elect not to go through the parental establishment confirmation process?

Should you elect to bypass the parental establishment confirmation process, then your surrogate (and her husband, if she is married) may still be presumed to be parent(s) of the child (i.e., the surrogate’s and her husband’s rights are not terminated, as they normally would be by the judgment that is issued). Accordingly, your parental rights will not be secured or established, and your name will generally not be placed on the birth certificate of your child.

Is a parental establishment confirmation the same as an adoption?

While there are some similarities, the parental establishment confirmation process is not an adoption, even if the parental order is issued post-birth. Surrogacy parental orders do not generally require a home study and are completed in a fraction of the time typically required for an adoption.

Must we appear in court for the parental establishment confirmation hearing?

In most cases, the parties are not required to make an appearance in court for a parental establishment confirmation hearing. An IFLG attorney will appear on your behalf and answer any questions from the court. If you and the surrogate have agreed, we may be able to represent both of you at the hearing. If your presence is required at the hearing, we will notify you.

Must an attorney represent my surrogate?

While most judges feel more comfortable issuing judgments in cases where both the intended parents and the surrogate are represented by counsel, they may grant a judgment if a surrogate is not represented.

Will our names go directly on the birth certificate?

In some states, the original birth certificate will reflect your names. Other states may allow the names of one or both parents to appear on the birth certificate; it may also be possible to obtain an amended birth certificate. The laws vary from state to state. Please check with our office to discuss your specific situation. International Fertility Law Group has experienced reproductive law attorneys available throughout the United States.

If a pre-birth judgment is in one state, must our surrogate deliver our child in that state?

Your baby must be born in the state in which the parental establishment judgment was issued in order for the judgment to be recognized by that state’s government agencies, hospitals, etc.; however, there are a few exceptions to this rule, and some state vital records offices will accept a court order issued by another state. This varies from state to state. Please check with our office to discuss your specific situation. International Fertility Law Group has experienced reproductive law attorneys available throughout the United States.

What happens if the surrogate delivers our child while traveling in another state?

If your baby were born in another state, then confirming your parental rights to your baby would fall under the jurisdiction of that state’s courts. Because each state operates quite differently in regard to parental establishment and assisted reproduction law, we suggest that you contact us immediately if you believe there is a possibility that your baby may be delivered in another state. International Fertility Law Group has experienced reproductive law attorneys available throughout the United States.

How long does the finalization process take?

The parental establishment finalization process generally takes about three to four months from start to finish in pre-birth states, and in those states requiring a post-birth filing or hearing, the matters are completed generally within a week of birth, although some exceptions apply.

Approximately how much will the process cost?

We offer single-price, all inclusive service packages, as well as reasonable hourly rates. Please call our office for further pricing information.

Birth Certificate FAQs

How long must I wait prior to requesting my child’s birth certificate?

The birth registrar at the hospital will provide detailed instructions on how to obtain your child’s birth certificate, but generally you will have to make a written request. Should you have any additional questions after receiving the hospital’s instructions, IFLG will be happy to further assist you.

Will my child’s birth certificate automatically be sent to me?

Your child’s birth certificate will not be automatically sent to you. Generally you will have to make a written request (see #1 above).

Is it possible to obtain my child’s birth certificate within a short time frame?

If an expedited birth certificate is required (e.g., for international clients who need the birth certificate to obtain the child’s passport), please be sure to notify the birth certificate clerk at the hospital when you are completing the hospital’s birth certificate worksheet. Expedited birth certificates can usually be obtained within approximately two weeks after birth, depending on the State and County, and you must pick it up in person.

Will my surrogate’s information be noted on my child’s birth certificate?

Most State Vital Records offices are required to record information about the person who physically gave birth, but this is placed only on the confidential portion of the birth certificate record (usually only in electronic records, not the printed, short-form birth certificate). This is done for statistical purposes only to track the number of births throughout the different regions/counties/cities of the state. The birth certificate you will obtain (sometimes referred to as the short-form birth certificate) will not show this information.

Passport for Newborns FAQs

What forms must I complete to obtain my newborn child’s passport?

You must complete a US State Department application to obtain a passport for your child. This application can be completed online or downloaded and printed from the United States Department of State’s website, starting at this page here.  Along with the application, you must also provide passport photos and a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate.

Is it possible to obtain my child's passport within a short time frame?

If your travel plans require an expedited passport, please notify our office immediately after the birth. We will be more than happy to help guide you in the best way to obtain your child’s passport. You should allow at least three to five business days for this process.

 

Social Security FAQs

Will my child's social security number/card automatically be sent to me?

You will need to make a written request to obtain your child’s social security number/card. Please check with our office to discuss your specific situation, as the process and necessity for a social security number can differ based on how the birth certificate is prepared and/or can differ for international clients.

What forms must I complete in order to request my child’s social security number/card?

You can obtain an application for a newborn social security number at the U.S. Social Security Administration’s website, at this page: http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf. For additional information about newborn social security numbers, please visit:  http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10023.html.  Please check with our office to discuss your specific situation, as the process and necessity for a social security number can differ based on how the birth certificate is prepared and/or can differ for international clients.

Glossary

Abortion (and/or to Abort)

The deliberate expulsion of the developing fetus from the womb of the Surrogate under circumstances where the Parties have agreed to such a termination of the Pregnancy in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph IX, below.

Amniocentesis

A prenatal test that allows the physician to gather information about the Child’s health and development from a sample of the amniotic fluid. This is the fluid that surrounds the Child in the Surrogate’s uterus.  The most common reason to have an amniocentesis is to determine whether the Child has a genetic disorder or a chromosomal abnormality, such as Down syndrome, as well as a host of other genetic disorders. Amniocentesis is generally considered to provide more complete and accurate information than CVS, but it is done later in a pregnancy.  Amniocentesis is usually done when a woman is between sixteenth (16th) and twentieth (20th) week of pregnancy. Women who choose to have this test are primarily those at increased risk for genetic and chromosomal problems.  This test is invasive and carries a small risk of miscarriage.

Birth

The natural or assisted delivery of the Child after the completion of the twentieth (20th) week of gestational pregnancy (i.e. the completion of the eighteenth (18th) week after the date of the IVF Embryo Transfer Procedure) by the Surrogate and includes the vaginal, cesarean and stillborn delivery of the Child.

Child

Each child conceived and born through the Surrogate as a result of the conduct contemplated in this Agreement.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

A prenatal test that detects chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, as well as a host of other genetic disorders. The physician takes cells from tiny fingerlike projections on the placenta called the “chorionic villi” and sends them to a medical lab for genetic analysis.  The main advantage of CVS over Amniocentesis is that the test can be done earlier — generally between eleventh (11th) and twelfth (12th) week of pregnancy, although some testing centers will do it as late as the thirteenth (13th) week of pregnancy.  Women who choose to have this test are primarily those at increased risk for genetic and chromosomal problems.  This prenatal test is invasive and carries a small risk of miscarriage.

Custody (and/or Custodial)

Full, joint, and permanent legal and physical custody of the Child by the Intended Parents to the complete exclusion of the Surrogate.

Embryos

Includes fertilized eggs, and/or zygotes and/or blastocycsts, both fresh and cryopreserved, belonging to the Intended Parents.  In this regard, the Embryos will be clinically cultured by the embryologist at the Medical Clinic utilizing sperm collected from, and contributed by, the Intended Father, with oocytes (i.e., eggs/ova) surgically retrieved from, and contributed by, the Intended Mother.

Fetal Anomaly Scan (FAS)

An ultrasound evaluation of the fetal anatomy which may detect major structural anomalies. The ideal time to screen for these malformations is between the eighteenth (18th) and twenty-third (23rd) week of Pregnancy although early diagnosis before sixteen (16) weeks is possible with higher resolution ultrasound machines.  This detailed scan looks at every part of the baby and will detect the large majority of major structural anomalies. The baby is systematically reviewed to from top to toe to look at the brain, face, spine, heart, lungs, diaphragm, stomach, kidneys, bowel and the upper and lower limbs. The baby will also be examined for chromosome markers or minor abnormalities of the normal anatomy, such as renal pelvis dilatation, talipes (club foot) or echogenic bowel, that may be found in babies with a chromosomal abnormality. The placenta is located and measurements taken to verify the dates of the pregnancy and assess the baby’s growth.

Health Care Provider

Any physician that provides any maternity medical care and treatment to the Surrogate and fertility services to the Intended Parents, and each of them, including, without limitation, the medical screening of any Party and any care and treatment of any Party herein prior to, during or after a Pregnancy herein.

IVF Embryo Transfer Procedure

The surgical placement of selected embryos belonging to the Intended Parents into the uterus of the Surrogate through her cervix by the IVF Physician with the intention, and for the sole and exclusive purpose, of rendering the Surrogate Pregnant with a Child of the Intended Parents.

IVF Physician

The reproductive endocrinologist selected and engaged by the Intended Parents to perform the medical processes and procedures on the Surrogate, the Intended Father, and the Intended Mother culminating with the IVF Embryo Transfer Procedure.

Mental Health Care Provider

Any psychologist, psychiatrist, marriage family counselor, or counselor that conducts the psychological screening of the Parties herein, or any of them, or provides any psychological counseling to the Parties, or any of them, during the term of this Agreement relative to any aspect of this Agreement and/or the performance of the Parties, or any of them, hereunder.

Miscarriage

The loss of a pregnancy before the completion of the twentieth (20th) week of gestational pregnancy (i.e. before the completion of the eighteenth (18th) week after the date of the IVF Embryo Transfer Procedure).

Nuchal Translucency Screening Test

The nuchal translucency screening test, also called the nuchal fold scan, which is often used as the first test to determine whether there is a risk of that the Child will have a chromosomal abnormality, such as Down Syndrome, trisomy 13 or trisomy 18. It cannot diagnose an abnormality; it only determines if there is a high risk for such an abnormality and can help the Intended Parents decide if the Surrogate should undergo more invasive and riskier diagnostic testing such as Chronic Villus Sampling or Amniocentesis. Unlike these diagnostic tests, nuchal translucency screening is painless and involves no risk to the Surrogate or the Child.

Babies accumulate fluid at the back of their neck (nuchal) during the first trimester. As a result of this fluid, the baby’s nuchal fold increases in thickness each day of gestation until the fluid disappears around the fifteenth (15th) week of pregnancy. Researchers have established an average or “normal” thickness for each day during the three (3) weeks you are eligible for the screening (between the eleventh (11th) and fourteenth (14th) week of pregnancy). If the Child’s nuchal fold is thicker than average, he or she is considered at a higher risk for an abnormality; if it is thinner, the Child’s risk is lower.

The screening uses ultrasound to first confirm the Child’s gestational age and then is used to measure the clear space in the tissue at the back of its neck using calipers. The examining doctor will send the data from the screening to a laboratory where the nuchal fold measurements, as well as the Child’s gestational age and the age of the gamete contributors and Surrogate, are applied to a formula to compute the Child’s chances of having a chromosomal abnormality, based on statistical probability.

The results of the screening will be in the form of a ratio that expresses the Child’s chances for having a chromosomal defect. A normal result, also called a “screen negative,” is not a guarantee that the Child is normal, but suggests that a chromosomal problem is unlikely. A “screen positive,” or an abnormal result, does not mean that the Child definitely has an abnormality – simply that there is an increased risk. Most “screen positive” babies turn out to be normal. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the nuchal translucency screening test has a sixty-four (64) to seventy (70) percent accuracy rate.

Perinatologist

An obstetrical subspecialist concerned with the care of the Surrogate and the developing fetus at higher-than-normal risk for complications.

Pregnancy (and/or Pregnant)

The Surrogate’s gestation of a live and developing Child resulting from the IVF Embryo Transfer Procedure.

Selective Reduction (and/or Fetal Reduction)

The termination of one or more of the live fetuses, leaving the rest to continue to term. The procedure is usually performed between the ninth (9th) and fourteenth (14th) week of pregnancy, but, depending upon the particular circumstances of the pregnancy, the health and condition of the Surrogate, the location of the fetuses within the Surrogates’ uterus, and the protocol and skill of the physician engaged to perform the Fetal Reduction, it can be performed up to, in extreme case, the twenty-fourth (24th) week of pregnancy.

Stillbirth (and/or Stillborn)

The birth and delivery of a dead fetus by the Surrogate after the completion of the twentieth (20th) week of gestational pregnancy.

Third Party Creditor

A doctor, pharmacy, medical laboratory, hospital, mental health care provider, insurance carrier, hotel, car rental agency, childcare provider, housekeeper, or any other person or company that provides medical care and treatment, medicine, medical supplies, materials, work, labor, services and materials to the Surrogate, and/or the Intended Parents, or either of them, arising out of or in any way relating to the purposes of this Agreement and/or the conduct and performance of the Parties in connection therewith.

+ Surrogacy Law (10)

Surrogacy Law FAQs

What is the purpose of a Surrogacy Agreement?

Surrogacy agreements are the first stage in a two-step process. The purpose of the surrogacy agreement is to allow each party to state their intentions, and their responsibilities to one another. The agreement will clearly state that the surrogate does not intend on parenting any resulting child(ren) and does not wish to have physical or legal custody of any resulting child(ren). The surrogacy agreement will also define the rights and responsibilities of the assisted parents.

Do all states have similar laws regarding surrogacy?

Each state has different laws regarding surrogacy. It is important for you to be aware of not only the laws regarding surrogacy, but also about the laws regarding how to establish yourselves as parents within that state. International Fertility Law Group has experienced attorneys throughout the United States.

Explain how a surrogacy agreement is prepared.

Preparing and finalizing your surrogacy agreement involves several steps. The following briefly describes the process from start to finish:

  • We’ll first send you a written attorney services agreement to review. It will explain the services we will provide and the cost. Sign and date it, and send it back to our office with your payment.
  • Once we have received your signed attorney services agreement, we’ll start work.
  • If you intend to use a surrogate, then once you have a match, and your surrogate is medically cleared to proceed, we will prepare the first draft of your surrogacy agreement and send it to you for review. Read it carefully, and call or email us with your questions, comments or suggested revisions. To avoid delay, it is a good idea for you to plan to review the agreement and contact us within two days after you receive it.
  • Next, the surrogate will receive your approved draft of the agreement for review with an attorney. If the surrogate requests any changes, we’ll review them and send you a redlined version, showing the requested changes. We will advise you accordingly, negotiate any revisions as needed, finalize the agreement, and send it out to all parties with signing instructions.
  • Once we receive signatures from all parties, we will issue a “legal clearance” letter to inform your IVF Physician that you are legally cleared to proceed with your cycle.

If you will be using an egg donor as well as a surrogate, please see our Egg Donation FAQ page for a step-by-step explanation of how egg donor agreements are prepared.

Approximately how long will it take to finalize this agreement?

The finalization and execution of your surrogacy agreement can take three to four weeks, depending on how quickly the drafts of the agreement are reviewed and approved. We start working on the agreement once the surrogate is medically cleared, and we generally are able to produce a draft of your surrogacy agreement within three to four days of receiving the signed attorney services agreement and the necessary information regarding your match with your surrogate. We must then account for the time needed for you to review the agreement, as well as the time needed for the surrogate to review the agreement.

Must our Surrogacy Agreement be signed before our surrogate undergoes injectable medications?

Most IVF physicians’ offices require a surrogacy agreement to be in place before your surrogate commences injectable medications. It is always best to have a surrogacy agreement in place as soon as possible.

Approximately how much will the drafting of the agreement cost?

We offer single-price, all-inclusive service packages, as well as reasonable hourly rates. Please call our office for further pricing information.

Must an attorney represent my surrogate?

It is in both your and your surrogate’s best interest to have an attorney knowledgeable about surrogacy law explain the agreement.

Can the surrogate assert her parental rights at some point in the future?

The purpose of the surrogacy agreement is to allow each party to state their intentions and to clearly state that the surrogate DOES NOT intend to have parental rights to the child and DOES NOT wish to have physical or legal custody of the child. The second stage of the process requires a parental order, most often in court, during which any rights of the surrogate (and her husband, if she is married) are terminated and the intended parents’ parental rights are confirmed.

What is the difference between Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy?

In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not biologically related to any resulting child(ren). This type of surrogacy involves eggs (from an intended mother, or an egg donor) fertilized in vitro (“in vitro fertilization,” or “IVF”).  Once fertilized, these embryos are transferred to the uterus of the surrogate. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s own eggs are used to conceive the child, so she is biologically related to the resulting child(ren). The procedure used to establish the pregnancy is generally referred to as “intrauterine insemination,” or “IUI,” although IVF and embryo transfer can also be used with a traditional surrogate.

I do not live in the Los Angeles area. Will I need to travel to your office?

Because all of our work is completed via email, fax, phone/video conferencing, FedEx and U.S. mail, you never need to come to our office, although of course you are very welcome to visit us any time.
+ Egg Donation (11)

Egg Donation FAQs

What is the purpose of an egg donation agreement?

An egg donation agreement exists so that each party can state their intentions and acknowledge their legal responsibilities to one another. The agreement will also clearly state that the donor does not intend to parent any resulting child(ren) and does not wish to have physical or legal custody of any resulting eggs, embryos or child(ren).

Do all states have similar laws on egg donation?

Each state has different laws on egg donation. It is important for you to know not only the laws regarding egg donation, but also the laws on the steps you will need to take to establish yourselves as parents within that state. International Fertility Law Group has experienced attorneys throughout the United States.

Explain how an egg donation agreement is prepared.

Preparing and finalizing your egg donation agreement involves several steps. The following briefly describes the process from start to finish:

  • We’ll first send you a written attorney services agreement to review. It will explain the services we will provide and the cost. Sign and date it, and send it back to our office with your payment.
  • Once we have your signed attorney services agreement, we’ll start work.
  • We’ll prepare the first draft of your egg donation agreement and send you a copy for review. Read it carefully, and call or email us with your questions, comments or suggested revisions. You should plan to review the agreement and contact us within two days after you receive it, to keep the process moving forward without delays.
  • The egg donor will receive your approved draft for review with an attorney. If the egg donor requests any changes, we’ll review them and send you a redlined version, showing the requested changes. We will advise you accordingly, negotiate any needed revisions, finalize the agreement and send it out for signature with signing instructions.
  • Once we receive signatures from all parties, we will issue a “legal clearance” letter to inform your IVF Physician that you are legally cleared to proceed with your cycle.

If you will be using a surrogate as well as an egg donor, please see our Surrogacy Agreement FAQs tab above for a step-by-step explanation of how surrogacy agreements are prepared.

Approximately how long will it take to finalize the agreement(s)?

The finalization of your egg donation agreement can take anywhere from two to three weeks, depending on how quickly the drafts of the agreement are reviewed and approved. We start working on the agreement once the donor is medically cleared, and we are generally able produce a draft of your egg donation agreement within 48 hours of receiving the signed attorney services agreement and the necessary information regarding your match with your egg donor. We must then account for the time needed for you to review the agreement, as well as the time needed for the egg donor to review the agreement.

Must our agreement be signed before our egg donor undergoes injectable medications?

Most IVF Physician’s offices require an egg donation agreement to be signed before your egg donor begins injectable medications. It is always best to have an egg donation agreement prepared and signed as soon as possible.

Approximately how much will the drafting of the agreement(s) cost?

We offer single-price, all-inclusive service packages, as well as reasonable hourly rates. Please call our office for further pricing information.

Must an attorney represent our egg donor?

It is in your and your egg donor’s best interest to have an attorney who is knowledgeable about egg donation law explain the agreement to your egg donor.

Can the egg donor assert her parental rights at some point in the future?

Pursuant to the egg donation agreement, the eggs belong to the intended parents from the moment of retrieval, so it is extremely unlikely that an egg donor could assert any parental rights.

Is it possible for either us or our child to meet the egg donor at some point in the future?

If meeting in the future or having the possibility of future contract is desired, then before a match is made, you should make sure the donor knows this (or lists in her profile that she is open to this). If the donor agrees to your request, we will write the necessary language into the egg donation agreement.

How do you sign an egg donation agreement when the arrangement is anonymous?

Most egg donation agreements refer to the parties by an identification number. As such, you would sign the agreement with your identification number.

I do not live in the Los Angeles area. Will I need to travel to your office?

Because all of our work is completed via email, fax, phone/video conferencing, FedEx and U.S. mail, you never need to come to our office, although of course you are very welcome to visit us any time.
+ Parental Establishment (10)

Parental Establishment FAQs

Explain the parental establishment confirmation process.

The parental establishment confirmation process aims to establish your rights as parent(s) and terminate the rights your surrogate (and the surrogate’s husband, if she is married) may be presumed to have under law. The process generally begins once you are safely into the second trimester and in the fourth month of the pregnancy. At that time we will schedule a consultation with you to go over the next steps of the process, discuss the documents that will be prepared, and begin collecting information from you, your surrogate and your IVF physician that we will need to insert into the parentage documents. In the following month, we will draft and file documents for your case in the appropriate state agency or court. In some states, we are allowed to file the matter before the birth and obtain a “pre-birth order”; in others, state law requires that we file for the parental order after the birth and attend a court hearing. International Fertility Law Group has experienced reproductive law attorneys available throughout the United States. The judges who review these types of parental establishment cases are familiar with the subject matter and are generally on a first-name basis with our attorneys. Barring any extraordinary circumstances, a pre-birth order is generally issued two to five weeks after the matter is filed, and in “post-birth” states a post-birth order is generally issued the same day as the post-birth hearing. Certified copies of the parental order confirming your legal rights as parent(s) to your baby are generally available to you shortly thereafter.

What happens if I elect not to go through the parental establishment confirmation process?

Should you elect to bypass the parental establishment confirmation process, then your surrogate (and her husband, if she is married) may still be presumed to be parent(s) of the child (i.e., the surrogate’s and her husband’s rights are not terminated, as they normally would be by the judgment that is issued). Accordingly, your parental rights will not be secured or established, and your name will generally not be placed on the birth certificate of your child.

Is a parental establishment confirmation the same as an adoption?

While there are some similarities, the parental establishment confirmation process is not an adoption, even if the parental order is issued post-birth. Surrogacy parental orders do not generally require a home study and are completed in a fraction of the time typically required for an adoption.

Must we appear in court for the parental establishment confirmation hearing?

In most cases, the parties are not required to make an appearance in court for a parental establishment confirmation hearing. An IFLG attorney will appear on your behalf and answer any questions from the court. If you and the surrogate have agreed, we may be able to represent both of you at the hearing. If your presence is required at the hearing, we will notify you.

Must an attorney represent my surrogate?

While most judges feel more comfortable issuing judgments in cases where both the intended parents and the surrogate are represented by counsel, they may grant a judgment if a surrogate is not represented.

Will our names go directly on the birth certificate?

In some states, the original birth certificate will reflect your names. Other states may allow the names of one or both parents to appear on the birth certificate; it may also be possible to obtain an amended birth certificate. The laws vary from state to state. Please check with our office to discuss your specific situation. International Fertility Law Group has experienced reproductive law attorneys available throughout the United States.

If a pre-birth judgment is in one state, must our surrogate deliver our child in that state?

Your baby must be born in the state in which the parental establishment judgment was issued in order for the judgment to be recognized by that state’s government agencies, hospitals, etc.; however, there are a few exceptions to this rule, and some state vital records offices will accept a court order issued by another state. This varies from state to state. Please check with our office to discuss your specific situation. International Fertility Law Group has experienced reproductive law attorneys available throughout the United States.

What happens if the surrogate delivers our child while traveling in another state?

If your baby were born in another state, then confirming your parental rights to your baby would fall under the jurisdiction of that state’s courts. Because each state operates quite differently in regard to parental establishment and assisted reproduction law, we suggest that you contact us immediately if you believe there is a possibility that your baby may be delivered in another state. International Fertility Law Group has experienced reproductive law attorneys available throughout the United States.

How long does the finalization process take?

The parental establishment finalization process generally takes about three to four months from start to finish in pre-birth states, and in those states requiring a post-birth filing or hearing, the matters are completed generally within a week of birth, although some exceptions apply.

Approximately how much will the process cost?

We offer single-price, all inclusive service packages, as well as reasonable hourly rates. Please call our office for further pricing information.

+ Birth Certificate (4)

Birth Certificate FAQs

How long must I wait prior to requesting my child’s birth certificate?

The birth registrar at the hospital will provide detailed instructions on how to obtain your child’s birth certificate, but generally you will have to make a written request. Should you have any additional questions after receiving the hospital’s instructions, IFLG will be happy to further assist you.

Will my child’s birth certificate automatically be sent to me?

Your child’s birth certificate will not be automatically sent to you. Generally you will have to make a written request (see #1 above).

Is it possible to obtain my child’s birth certificate within a short time frame?

If an expedited birth certificate is required (e.g., for international clients who need the birth certificate to obtain the child’s passport), please be sure to notify the birth certificate clerk at the hospital when you are completing the hospital’s birth certificate worksheet. Expedited birth certificates can usually be obtained within approximately two weeks after birth, depending on the State and County, and you must pick it up in person.

Will my surrogate’s information be noted on my child’s birth certificate?

Most State Vital Records offices are required to record information about the person who physically gave birth, but this is placed only on the confidential portion of the birth certificate record (usually only in electronic records, not the printed, short-form birth certificate). This is done for statistical purposes only to track the number of births throughout the different regions/counties/cities of the state. The birth certificate you will obtain (sometimes referred to as the short-form birth certificate) will not show this information.

+ Passport (2)

Passport for Newborns FAQs

What forms must I complete to obtain my newborn child’s passport?

You must complete a US State Department application to obtain a passport for your child. This application can be completed online or downloaded and printed from the United States Department of State’s website, starting at this page here.  Along with the application, you must also provide passport photos and a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate.

Is it possible to obtain my child's passport within a short time frame?

If your travel plans require an expedited passport, please notify our office immediately after the birth. We will be more than happy to help guide you in the best way to obtain your child’s passport. You should allow at least three to five business days for this process.

 

+ Social Security (2)

Social Security FAQs

Will my child's social security number/card automatically be sent to me?

You will need to make a written request to obtain your child’s social security number/card. Please check with our office to discuss your specific situation, as the process and necessity for a social security number can differ based on how the birth certificate is prepared and/or can differ for international clients.

What forms must I complete in order to request my child’s social security number/card?

You can obtain an application for a newborn social security number at the U.S. Social Security Administration’s website, at this page: http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf. For additional information about newborn social security numbers, please visit:  http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10023.html.  Please check with our office to discuss your specific situation, as the process and necessity for a social security number can differ based on how the birth certificate is prepared and/or can differ for international clients.

+ Glossary

Glossary

Abortion (and/or to Abort)

The deliberate expulsion of the developing fetus from the womb of the Surrogate under circumstances where the Parties have agreed to such a termination of the Pregnancy in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph IX, below.

Amniocentesis

A prenatal test that allows the physician to gather information about the Child’s health and development from a sample of the amniotic fluid. This is the fluid that surrounds the Child in the Surrogate’s uterus.  The most common reason to have an amniocentesis is to determine whether the Child has a genetic disorder or a chromosomal abnormality, such as Down syndrome, as well as a host of other genetic disorders. Amniocentesis is generally considered to provide more complete and accurate information than CVS, but it is done later in a pregnancy.  Amniocentesis is usually done when a woman is between sixteenth (16th) and twentieth (20th) week of pregnancy. Women who choose to have this test are primarily those at increased risk for genetic and chromosomal problems.  This test is invasive and carries a small risk of miscarriage.

Birth

The natural or assisted delivery of the Child after the completion of the twentieth (20th) week of gestational pregnancy (i.e. the completion of the eighteenth (18th) week after the date of the IVF Embryo Transfer Procedure) by the Surrogate and includes the vaginal, cesarean and stillborn delivery of the Child.

Child

Each child conceived and born through the Surrogate as a result of the conduct contemplated in this Agreement.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

A prenatal test that detects chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, as well as a host of other genetic disorders. The physician takes cells from tiny fingerlike projections on the placenta called the “chorionic villi” and sends them to a medical lab for genetic analysis.  The main advantage of CVS over Amniocentesis is that the test can be done earlier — generally between eleventh (11th) and twelfth (12th) week of pregnancy, although some testing centers will do it as late as the thirteenth (13th) week of pregnancy.  Women who choose to have this test are primarily those at increased risk for genetic and chromosomal problems.  This prenatal test is invasive and carries a small risk of miscarriage.

Custody (and/or Custodial)

Full, joint, and permanent legal and physical custody of the Child by the Intended Parents to the complete exclusion of the Surrogate.

Embryos

Includes fertilized eggs, and/or zygotes and/or blastocycsts, both fresh and cryopreserved, belonging to the Intended Parents.  In this regard, the Embryos will be clinically cultured by the embryologist at the Medical Clinic utilizing sperm collected from, and contributed by, the Intended Father, with oocytes (i.e., eggs/ova) surgically retrieved from, and contributed by, the Intended Mother.

Fetal Anomaly Scan (FAS)

An ultrasound evaluation of the fetal anatomy which may detect major structural anomalies. The ideal time to screen for these malformations is between the eighteenth (18th) and twenty-third (23rd) week of Pregnancy although early diagnosis before sixteen (16) weeks is possible with higher resolution ultrasound machines.  This detailed scan looks at every part of the baby and will detect the large majority of major structural anomalies. The baby is systematically reviewed to from top to toe to look at the brain, face, spine, heart, lungs, diaphragm, stomach, kidneys, bowel and the upper and lower limbs. The baby will also be examined for chromosome markers or minor abnormalities of the normal anatomy, such as renal pelvis dilatation, talipes (club foot) or echogenic bowel, that may be found in babies with a chromosomal abnormality. The placenta is located and measurements taken to verify the dates of the pregnancy and assess the baby’s growth.

Health Care Provider

Any physician that provides any maternity medical care and treatment to the Surrogate and fertility services to the Intended Parents, and each of them, including, without limitation, the medical screening of any Party and any care and treatment of any Party herein prior to, during or after a Pregnancy herein.

IVF Embryo Transfer Procedure

The surgical placement of selected embryos belonging to the Intended Parents into the uterus of the Surrogate through her cervix by the IVF Physician with the intention, and for the sole and exclusive purpose, of rendering the Surrogate Pregnant with a Child of the Intended Parents.

IVF Physician

The reproductive endocrinologist selected and engaged by the Intended Parents to perform the medical processes and procedures on the Surrogate, the Intended Father, and the Intended Mother culminating with the IVF Embryo Transfer Procedure.

Mental Health Care Provider

Any psychologist, psychiatrist, marriage family counselor, or counselor that conducts the psychological screening of the Parties herein, or any of them, or provides any psychological counseling to the Parties, or any of them, during the term of this Agreement relative to any aspect of this Agreement and/or the performance of the Parties, or any of them, hereunder.

Miscarriage

The loss of a pregnancy before the completion of the twentieth (20th) week of gestational pregnancy (i.e. before the completion of the eighteenth (18th) week after the date of the IVF Embryo Transfer Procedure).

Nuchal Translucency Screening Test

The nuchal translucency screening test, also called the nuchal fold scan, which is often used as the first test to determine whether there is a risk of that the Child will have a chromosomal abnormality, such as Down Syndrome, trisomy 13 or trisomy 18. It cannot diagnose an abnormality; it only determines if there is a high risk for such an abnormality and can help the Intended Parents decide if the Surrogate should undergo more invasive and riskier diagnostic testing such as Chronic Villus Sampling or Amniocentesis. Unlike these diagnostic tests, nuchal translucency screening is painless and involves no risk to the Surrogate or the Child.

Babies accumulate fluid at the back of their neck (nuchal) during the first trimester. As a result of this fluid, the baby’s nuchal fold increases in thickness each day of gestation until the fluid disappears around the fifteenth (15th) week of pregnancy. Researchers have established an average or “normal” thickness for each day during the three (3) weeks you are eligible for the screening (between the eleventh (11th) and fourteenth (14th) week of pregnancy). If the Child’s nuchal fold is thicker than average, he or she is considered at a higher risk for an abnormality; if it is thinner, the Child’s risk is lower.

The screening uses ultrasound to first confirm the Child’s gestational age and then is used to measure the clear space in the tissue at the back of its neck using calipers. The examining doctor will send the data from the screening to a laboratory where the nuchal fold measurements, as well as the Child’s gestational age and the age of the gamete contributors and Surrogate, are applied to a formula to compute the Child’s chances of having a chromosomal abnormality, based on statistical probability.

The results of the screening will be in the form of a ratio that expresses the Child’s chances for having a chromosomal defect. A normal result, also called a “screen negative,” is not a guarantee that the Child is normal, but suggests that a chromosomal problem is unlikely. A “screen positive,” or an abnormal result, does not mean that the Child definitely has an abnormality – simply that there is an increased risk. Most “screen positive” babies turn out to be normal. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the nuchal translucency screening test has a sixty-four (64) to seventy (70) percent accuracy rate.

Perinatologist

An obstetrical subspecialist concerned with the care of the Surrogate and the developing fetus at higher-than-normal risk for complications.

Pregnancy (and/or Pregnant)

The Surrogate’s gestation of a live and developing Child resulting from the IVF Embryo Transfer Procedure.

Selective Reduction (and/or Fetal Reduction)

The termination of one or more of the live fetuses, leaving the rest to continue to term. The procedure is usually performed between the ninth (9th) and fourteenth (14th) week of pregnancy, but, depending upon the particular circumstances of the pregnancy, the health and condition of the Surrogate, the location of the fetuses within the Surrogates’ uterus, and the protocol and skill of the physician engaged to perform the Fetal Reduction, it can be performed up to, in extreme case, the twenty-fourth (24th) week of pregnancy.

Stillbirth (and/or Stillborn)

The birth and delivery of a dead fetus by the Surrogate after the completion of the twentieth (20th) week of gestational pregnancy.

Third Party Creditor

A doctor, pharmacy, medical laboratory, hospital, mental health care provider, insurance carrier, hotel, car rental agency, childcare provider, housekeeper, or any other person or company that provides medical care and treatment, medicine, medical supplies, materials, work, labor, services and materials to the Surrogate, and/or the Intended Parents, or either of them, arising out of or in any way relating to the purposes of this Agreement and/or the conduct and performance of the Parties in connection therewith.

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Peiya Wang
PEIYA WANG(王培娅)
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya received her bachelor’s degree from Beijing Technologies and Business University, where she majored in Marketing. She moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeast University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Luis Sosa
LUIS SOSA
Paralegal

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Toni Hughes
TONI HUGES
Paralegal

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”

Miesha Cowart
MIESHA COWART
Financial Coordinator

Miesha Cowart joined IFLG as a financial specialist in 2014 following a successful career in development and business finance. Miesha previously worked for 10 years in the construction industry as a controller and for 13 years as Development Coordinator for the non-profit U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In her free time, Miesha works with “Next Generation” at her church. “They are my heartbeats!” she says of the youth in her community.

Kim
KIM DEVEREAUX
Paralegal

Kim has over 25 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager of surrogacy and egg donation cases, and is also responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn
RICHARD B. VAUGHN
Founder

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, thoughtful and compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, serving as chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee and speaking to law students, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo
ELIZABETH TAMAYO
Paralegal

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Tania Steele
TANIA STEELE
Legal Assistant

Tania Steele joined IFLG as a legal assistant in early 2016 and has since been immersed in the complexities of assisted reproductive technology law. Tania received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Chapman University in Orange, California, and a graduate degree from University of Leicester in England, where she pursued an interest in art. In 2013, she accepted a volunteer position at Legal Aid Society of Orange County, where she helped with the intake of new clients and was inspired to obtain a paralegal certificate from Fullerton College. As an undergraduate, Tania lived in Italy and studied the Italian language. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian and enjoys assisting as a translator for many of IFLG’s international clients. Outside of the office, Tania enjoys concerts, films, reading and travel.