If you enjoyed being pregnant and wish you could experience pregnancy again, but don't have the financial resources to support another child, you may want to consider serving as a surrogate -- or gestational carrier -- for a couple suffering from fertility issues. Being a gestational carrier can provide you with a comfortable fee, while also helping bring the dream of parenthood to another couple. However, this process comes with some potential legal pitfalls. Read on to learn more about what you can do to protect your rights when entering into an agreement to be come a gestational carrier.
How does being a gestational carrier work?
There are several different types of gestational carriers. In one situation, you'll simply be carrying a child that contains genetic material from both natural parents. In other cases, the child will be the biological child of only one natural parent, using donor egg or sperm from someone else. And in some cases, the child may be conceived using only donor egg and sperm.
To become a gestational carrier, you'll have to pass a physical exam and meet with a fertility counselor to ensure that you're physically and mentally healthy enough to embark on this process. You'll then undergo a procedure called intrauterine insemination (IUI) to allow the donor embryo to implant itself to your uterus. Before this process, you'll be required to take a low dose of hormones to help ready your body for pregnancy.
During your surrogacy, you'll have all medical expenses relating to pregnancy covered by the parents who have hired you to carry their child. You may also receive additional compensation (if your state's laws permit this) for your time, trouble, and risk.
What should you do to make sure your rights are protected during this process?
As a gestational carrier, before even becoming pregnant, you'll be required to sign a contract giving up any rights to the child as soon as he or she is born. You may also be required to agree to abide by certain conditions during the pregnancy -- regular doctor visits, abstaining from drinking, smoking, or other potentially harmful activities, and getting a balanced diet.
However, every pregnancy is different, and you'll want to ensure that you're not held legally responsible for any complications during (or after) pregnancy. Even if you do everything by the book, there's no guarantee of a perfect child, and you should consult an attorney to make sure that any contract protects you from lawsuit if the outcome of the pregnancy is not quite what the natural parents expected.
You'll also want to ensure that you'll be adequately compensated if you do suffer any health issues through the pregnancy. Although modern pregnancy is a fairly low-risk proposition, there are still potential dangers -- and if you suffer complications and find yourself dealing with long-term health issues as a result, you may be out of luck. Drafting a surrogacy agreement that addresses all these potential issues will help protect all parties involved.
For more information on the legal aspects of the surrogacy process, reach out to a local lawyer, like Carmen L. Janssen Attorney at Law.