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.
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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.
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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.