Paternity Without Adoption: Understanding Florida’s Surrogacy Legal Process

Florida is one of the few states that permits intended parents to establish parental status over a child without having to undertake a formal “adoption” process.

If you are interested in being being the intended parents of a child or a gestational carrier/surrogate, it is critical that you have a legal professional to see you through to the other side as smoothly as possible. As friendly as the laws are, the process is still quite complex. The surrogacy process is not something that should be undertaken lightly or without any legal help, especially with the many legal obstacles you must face on the road ahead.

We at Rodriguez-Albizu Law, P.A. are experienced in Florida fertility law, and have helped many people with their surrogacy process. In this blog we provide a general overview of the legal process and what it entails:

1.  Surrogacy and its alternatives

Surrogacy isn’t for everyone. At the very least, the process will take one or two years to complete.

If you want to be an intended parent, carefully consider other options available to you and how the surrogacy process will take a toll on your finances, emotions, time, job, and more. Compare and contrast the various options available to you before deciding if surrogacy is the right fit for your family and go to fertility counseling.

If you want to be a surrogate, carefully consider the commitment you will have to make with your time, emotions, money, job, and every aspect of your life.

2.  The two types of surrogacy

A) Gestational surrogacy: The more common method. In this method, a fertilized embryo is transferred to the surrogates’ uterus. The child is not biologically related to the mother.

B) Traditional surrogacy: The less common method and is quite rare because of the legal and emotional risks it carries. The gestational carrier/surrogate uses her own egg, which is fertilized either by a sperm donor or sperm of the intended parent through intrauterine insemination. She will be the biological mother of the child. This process involves a pre-planned adoption agreement and the mother’s termination of her parental rights. However, the mother can still revoke her consent within 48 hours of giving birth which is why we strongly recommend against intended parents undertaking a traditional surrogacy, especially in light of the medical advances which makes transferring embryos which are not genetically related to the surrogate common place today.

3.  Find a surrogacy partner

A surrogacy agency can help you find the right match. Independently finding a surrogate carries greater risks, so please be sure to consult with us if you are at this stage and are considering going the independent route. You and the surrogate will need legally enforceable contracts to ensure the smoothest transition possible. Even if you choose someone you trust completely, a legally binding contract is still necessary.

4.  The legal process

Both the surrogate and the intended parents should be represented by their own attorneys to ensure that both parties’ best interests are represented fairly during the legal process, and to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

At Rodriguez-Albizu Law, P.A., we can represent either party in a surrogacy proceeding. We will draft and review the necessary surrogacy contracts to ensure a smooth transition. Surrogacy contracts include legally binding terms such as:

  • The laws that apply to the surrogacy contract
  • Reimbursements for the surrogate
  • Parental rights
  • Stipulations for what would happen in the case of pregnancy complications
  • Medical consent
  • And more

Drafting the surrogacy contract takes place after finding a surrogacy match and before the medical stage. Therefore, it is crucial to find a Florida fertility law attorney well before you get to this stage. Drafting the contract is only a small part of the entire legal process. Having an attorney helping you from the very beginning of the process will ensure that you have the same person involved in your decisions, and who will know the nuances of your case.

How Can We Help You Start Your Family?

Having battled infertility with his wife for years, Mr. Rodriguez-Albizu has gone through what you will be going through. Our firm therefore is uniquely positioned to understand what challenges surrogates and intended parents are going to face during the surrogacy process.

Mr. Rodriguez-Albizu’s experience includes representing intended parents and gestational surrogates in gestational surrogacy agreements and pre-planned adoption agreements (commonly used by same-sex couples), along with representing intended parents and donors in anonymous and known gamete donation agreements.

Let us help you during this joyful time! Call us at (561) 953-9630 for our West Palm Beach office, or at (772) 261-5080 for our Treasure Coast office, or simply contact us here.