Surrogacy and Egg Donation Contracts
Many couples, for a variety of reasons, are unable to have children through sexual intercourse. In addition, single parents sometimes want to have children. In many cases, these prospective parents want to have a biological or genetic connection to the child which cannot be achieved through traditional adoption. These parents generally have children through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and artificial insemination. If the parent or parents (“prospective parents”) cannot actually bear the child themselves, then they must find a “surrogate mother.” These parents will then enter into a surrogacy arrangement or agreement with a woman (the surrogate mother) who agrees to bear the child. By definition, the surrogate mother bears the child as the result of IVF or artificial insemination. The surrogacy agreement provides that when the child is born, the surrogate mother will turn the child over to the prospective parents and the prospective parents will have custody of the child.
Prospective parents who are entering into this arrangement have one primary goal-to insure that when the child is born, the child will be delivered to them and they will be the legal parents. In Missouri, the methods for accomplishing this depend on the type of IVF or artificial insemination, and depend on the prospective parents’ genetic connection to the child. Parents will either need to go through the adoption process or the paternity process (the legal process by which a child born is declared to be the biological child of a parent), in order to secure their rights as parents. Surrogacy agreements or arrangements must be handled with great care, to insure that the prospective parents have the security of knowing the child will be theirs when it is born.
The question of whether or not someone needs a surrogate mother is a medical question that can only be answered by the appropriate doctor. Once parents know that they do need a surrogate mother in order to bear a child, there are networks of potential surrogate mothers that can be investigated.
It is critical for people who want to have children using a surrogate mother to create the appropriate legal relationship with the surrogate in the beginning. Then, the intended or prospective parent must create the appropriate legal relationship with the child, once the child is born.
The St. Louis and Clayton, MO family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine and Blumenthal will help prospective parents who can only have a child using a surrogate mother sort through these issues in a manner that best serves them and the interests of their children.