In addition to operating a surrogacy matching program, New York Surrogacy Center, our firm handles many independent surrogacy journeys for our clients. An independent surrogacy journey is one where the intended parents and surrogate find each other without the assistance of a surrogacy matching program or surrogacy agency. Sometimes the intended parents and surrogate already know each other (i.e., family or friends), sometimes they are connected by a friend or colleague they have in common, and sometimes they find each other in other ways, such as social media surrogacy matching groups.
Screening of Surrogate
One of the things a surrogacy matching program or surrogacy agency would typically do is screen the surrogate before matching. When you’re pursuing an independent surrogacy journey, it’s up to you to decide how much screening to undertake. Screening of a surrogate includes things like a criminal background check, child abuse/neglect clearance, STD testing, drug testing, and possibly a home visit.
When you are matched with a surrogate who is a friend or family member, often much of this screening is not needed or desired. However, when you match with someone you don’t know as well, particularly if you met through social media, some screening can be helpful to make sure you don’t get too far into the process with a surrogate who will not ultimately qualify and give you peace of mind about your match.
Our surrogacy matching program, New York Surrogacy Center, offers screening and support services under these circumstances for a reduced agency fee. If you think this might be helpful to you, please reach out to New York Surrogacy Center directly at office@NYSurrogacyCenter.com or 866-444-6972 (NYSC).
Coordination of Non-Legal Aspects of Independent Surrogacy Journey
One of the other things a surrogacy matching agency would typically do is help coordinate all of the various items that need to be completed before your embryo transfer procedure can occur. In New York, those items include the following:
- Medical clearance from the fertility clinic for the surrogate
- Medical clearance from the fertility clinic for the intended parent(s) if they’re using their own egg and/or sperm
- Psychological screening or psychosocial evaluation and clearance of the surrogate, her spouse (if any), and the intended parent(s) from a qualified mental health professional
- Last Will and Testament for each intended parent
- Review of the surrogate’s existing medical insurance policy to confirm if it will cover a surrogate pregnancy
- Coordination of the selection and purchase of medical insurance (if needed), life insurance for the surrogate, and any other insurance needed or desired by the intended parent(s)
- Selection of an appropriate escrow company to hold the funds for the surrogate during the surrogacy journey, if the surrogate is being compensated
For some intended parents, attempting to coordinate all of these matters on their own in an efficient manner can be overwhelming. Since we routinely coordinate all of these matters for our clients through our surrogacy matching program, New York Surrogacy Center, our law firm is uniquely situated to help our clients efficiently and effectively navigate these requirements when they choose to use us as their attorneys for an independent surrogacy journey.
Regardless of whether you need assistance with screening or coordination of the non-legal aspects of an independent surrogacy journey, and regardless of whether your surrogate is compensated, you will need assistance with drafting the legal documents for your surrogacy journey. In fact, New York law requires that both the intended parents and the surrogate be represented by attorneys licensed to practice law in New York. The main legal document is the Surrogacy Agreement. This is a lengthy, detailed document that sets forth all of the terms of the surrogacy arrangement, including compensation, ground rules for the surrogate’s activities during the pregnancy, insurance requirements, how parentage proceedings will be handled, and much more.
Intended Parents should also use an attorney to draft their Wills who is familiar with both surrogacy and estate planning. This is necessary because the attorney needs to make sure that the Wills comply with the requirements in the Child Parent Security Act, as well as include the necessary language to carry out their intent with respect to the child to be born via surrogacy under the state’s inheritance laws. Our firm has an attorney, Casey Copps DiPaola, who handles both surrogacy and estate planning matters, so there is no need to involve another attorney in an already complicated process.
We understand that once you find your match, you want to get to the point of embryo transfer as quicky as possible! At our firm, we strive to make our clients’ independent surrogacy journeys as smooth and as quick as possible, while still making sure that everything is done properly. Our attorneys were intimately involved in the drafting and lobbying process for New York’s surrogacy laws, so we know these laws inside and out so no details will be missed in your independent surrogacy journey. We are also able to utilize our experience coordinating surrogacy journeys through our surrogacy matching program to assist our law firm clients pursuing independent surrogacy journeys without the added cost of a surrogacy agency fee.