4 Tips for Surrogates: Reviewing Your Contract

Contracts for surrogacy are crucial!  However, when you initially receive your contract, it can be very overwhelming.  Thankfully, you’ll have your own legal counsel—read about why that’s important here—so you should definitely go over every page of the contract verbatim with them before signing off.

1. Be wary of caps.

I was fortunate enough to not be bit in the ass after agreeing to caps during my first surrogacy journey.  Agencies, lawyers, and/or intended parents might try and convince you that your only option is to agree to capped bed rest, wages, post-partum recovery, etc.  You might be made to feel guilty for resisting caps or you might feel a sense of obligation to agree because of how costly surrogacy is for IPs.

However, caps can leave your vulnerable.  Pregnancies are unpredictable.  Surrogates who have done SETs and are only carrying one baby have ended up on weeks or months of bed rest.  I was fortunate enough to have had a relatively uneventful pregnancy but some surrogates are not as fortunate.

Think very long and hard about whether you’re willing to accept a cap of any kind.  Some alternatives I’ve seen surrogates present are:
  • A max weekly dollar amount, rather than an overall dollar cap or cap on the length of time you’ll be reimbursed.
  • A cap that equals out to 48 weeks of full reimbursement for lost wages and necessary child care/housekeeping (or whatever is applicable in your situation)
  • That intended parents can request a second opinion from a doctor independent of the current situation

2. Protect yourself and your family.

This might seem obvious, but don’t forget about yourself and your family.  Make sure you have a good life insurance policy (IPs usually purchase an additional one for you) because death is a risk you’re facing as a surrogate.

For example, if your income is critical to your family’s well being then you can absolutely not afford to “skimp” on wage reimbursements (also see previous point about caps).

Make sure you have an independent lawyer (separate from and not affiliated with your IPs lawyer) reviewing your contract with you and representing your best interests.  You should be using an Assistive Reproductive Technology lawyer.  You can find a list of ART lawyers here.

3. Be 100% comfortable prior to signing.

Don’t sign your contract until you’re happy/comfortable/satisfied with what it says.  Every single time you get an amended contract back to you, read it again verbatim.  Don’t just look at the areas where you requested and negotiated changes.  You want to make sure no new clauses/requirements/etc. snuck in there while you weren’t looking.

Walk away if it feels wrong or fishy.  Yes, it sucks that you’ve come that far and now have to “start over” but don’t compromise yourself.  It will feel yucky, and you’ll regret it later.

4. Everything is negotiable.

Finally, you should remember that pretty much everything in your contract is negotiable.  Both surrogates and IPs have asked for things that to other surrogates and IPs might sound off the wall.  However, contracts are unique to each situation.

If you don’t like the way something sounds/reads or flat out don’t agree with something then have it changed, taken out, or otherwise negotiated.  Nothing is set in stone, and don’t let an agency or lawyer tell you otherwise.  If you don’t like it, refer to point #3.

Bonus Tip! Pin this for future reference!

surrogacy legal contracts

14 Must Try Margarita Recipes #NationalMargaritaDay

Margarita Recipes
February 22nd is National Margarita Day, so if you wanted an excuse to try a delicious alcoholic beverage then I just gave you one.  If it’s not a margarita, just put it in a margarita glass and fake it.
I, for one, seem to be the only mom on the planet that doesn’t drink wine.  But I also basically never consume alcohol.  Yep.  No fun zone right here.  However, I have daiquiris and margaritas on my must-try list for 2017.  I really want to try one of these watermelon recipes, because who doesn’t love some delicious watermelon?

What is your favorite way to have margarita?

Watermelon Margaritas from I Was Born to Cook
Watermelon Margarita
Frozen Watermelon Margaritas from Cooking with Curls
frozen margarita
Frozen Tropical Margaritas from Cooking with Curls
No Mix Margarita from Dinner with the Rollos
Sunburned Strawberry Margaritas from Ann’s Entitled Life
Hibiscus Margaritas from Letty’s Kitchen
Champagne Margaritas from The Kitchen is My Playground
Champagne Margarita 4
Classic Margarita from Cooking with Curls
Margarita Jello Shots from Ann’s Entitled Life
Blood Orange Margaritas from Sidewalk Shoes
Strawberry Margarita from Grey is the New Black
Mango Orange Margarita from Ann’s Entitled Life

The Importance of Proper Legal Counsel for Surrogates

Legal Representation Surrogates
Surrogacy is an expensive undertaking for intended parents (IPs), regardless of the method they choose—traditional surrogate or gestational surrogate; egg donor or using own eggs; working with an agency or going independent—so some IPs may think it makes sense to only pay one lawyer in order to cut costs.  However, surrogates and IPs need to have separate legal representation.

Surrogates who are tempted to forgo their own independent legal counsel should remind themselves of the huge task that they are undertaking, which comes with its own set of risks.  They should also prioritize protecting themselves and their families, should these risks become a reality during the surrogacy process.

Both parties using the same lawyer is a huge conflict of interest.  That lawyer cannot look out for the best interests of the IPs and the surrogate.  Believe it or not the two are not always equal.  Should there be a disagreement, then each party needs to have someone representing them—the same can be said when each party sees a different meaning in a certain clause or part of the contract.
Surrogacy Lawyers
While this move might present to opportunity for the IPs to save thousands of dollars; it presents the opportunity for the surrogate to be taken advantage of—intentionally or unintentionally.  Also, in some areas the contract might not be considered valid unless each party has had their own legal representation prior to agreement.

Obtaining your own legal counsel—which IPs should still be paying for—means that you have someone offering you advice and looking out for your best interests.  Your lawyer can point out clauses that need to be modified or removed altogether, or she can suggest things you should ask to be added to your contract with the IPs.

Lawyers are always going to have the best interest of the primary client in mind, so using the same lawyer means  you come second to your IPs, regardless of any claims the lawyer or IPs make about equality.

This is not mutually exclusive to surrogacy.  A single lawyer cannot properly represent two different parties in the same case.  You need your own lawyer.

Finally, both your lawyer and your IPs lawyer should be an Assistive Reproductive Technology lawyer, preferably experienced with surrogacy.  You can find a list of ART lawyers here.
Do not settle.  Protect yourself.  Protect your IPs.  Protect the integrity of surrogacy.

Pin for future reference.

Surrogates and Lawyers

7 DIY Kids’ Valentines Mailboxes

DIY Valentines Mailboxes
So, if you’re feeling like an over achiever and want to do something fun with your kids over the weekend… Why not help them make the coolest Valentine’s Day mailbox ever?  However, if you just send them to school with a shoebox, tissue box, cereal box, or paper bag then that’s okay, too.  I’m not going to tell, and we can just pretend you never even saw this post.

Follow my Valentine's Pinterest Board!

Because that’s the kind of mom I am.  I would totally be committed to doing one of these cool mailboxes and then BAM! It’d be Valentine’s Day and we’d be lucky if we even had Valentines ready to hand out at school.

However, if you miss the Valentine’s Day train then you can still make a cool mailbox for your home where you kiddo can receive their very own mail.  Studies show that exchanging letters with family members strengthens literacy skills and family ties!

DIY Kids’ Mailboxes

Robot Mailbox via Making of a Mom
Milk Container Penguin Mailbox via Dollar Store Crafts
Hot Air Balloon Mailbox via Making of a Mom
Glitter Coffee Can Mailbox via The Idea Box
Kitty Cat Mailbox via Pretty Plain Janes
Unicorn Mailbox via Artsy Fartsy Mama
Princess Castle Mailbox via Making of a Mom

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DIY Kids Valentine Mailboxes

Easy Last Minute Kids’ Valentines

Raise your hand if you’re a procrastinator? Oh.  You, too?!  They start putting Valentine’s Day decorations, candy, and cards out before they’ve even had time to clear out the Christmas decorations from the shelves. 

However, I’m that person who didn’t take her Christmas tree down until the middle (or endish) of January and not because I was still feeling the holiday spirit still, either.

I’m usually running around like a mad woman before any holiday where it might be somewhat expected for my kids to participate at school through food, gifts, etc.  I always feel like Valentine’s Day just creeps up on me, though one year I tried to super mom it and did an okay job making homemade fortune cookies.

So, if Valentine’s Day has snuck up on you, then here’s some easy kids’ Valentines you and your little one can whip up together without losing your mind.

Easy, Last Minute Valentines for Kids

Valentines Scratch Offs via Dollar Store Crafts
Crazy Straw Printable via Momma Lew
Minecraft Valentines via Atta Girl Says
Monkey Valentines via Beauty Through Imperfection
Ninja Valentines via Merry About Town
Owl Valentine’s Cards via A Spectacled Owl
Cute Animal Valentine’s Day Cards via Food Fun Family
Monster Jokes Valentines via Two Kids & a Coupon
Fortune Teller (Cootie Catcher) Valentines via Atta Girl Says
Out of this World Valentines via The Joys of Boys
Monster Valentines via Food Fun Family
Three Printable Valentine’s Cards via A Spectacled Owl
Valentine’s Day Puzzle Cards via Food Fun Family

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easy last minute valentines