The above picture is a dramatic representation of our gestational carrier contract. While it felt like it was an entire ream of paper, it was really on 42 pages. 42 PAGES!
The past few weeks we have been working with our lawyer to draw up GC contract. This has been an interesting process for several reasons.
First, third party reproduction and surrogacy in particular is a very specialized area of law. There are not a lot of lawyers that practice in this area to begin with and less that are really experts.
Second, third party reproduction laws vary not only by country, but by state, county and sometimes by city. Not only do you need to find a lawyer who actually knows something about this area of law, you also need to find someone who knows the laws in your jurisdiction.
Third, we are under a bit of a time crunch. We are (finally) have an appointment with our clinic for the consent signing (a legal document between you and the clinic that discusses the risks of procedures, which procedures you do and do not agree to do, embryo storage and disposal, etc. etc. that needs to be signed before any procedures are performed) on March 18th . We need to have EVERYTHING complete before the consent signing this includes all of our prior testing and screening and an executed legal GC contract.
How do you go about finding your third party reproduction lawyer? Good Question.
While billboards, whitepages ads, matchbooks and bingo games seem to work well on TV (think “You Better Call Saul”) they may not be the best referral source for you in real life. Do you really want James McGill aka Saul Goodman on your case?
Luckily for us our psychologist was able to give us four lawyers to choose from who she has worked with in the past. All four were good. In the end we picked the one who had the most experience. He also called us back. Two never even called us back.
We had an initial call with one of the firm’s paralegals to get our initial information and to set an appointment to speak with the lawyer. We had an hour call with the lawyer to talk about our particular circumstances, discuss his credentials and past experience, and to talk about fees. After that we filled out a very detailed questionnaire and had several rounds of questions from the legal staff. We also had to track down some specific information from our insurance companies to make sure that the medical costs would be covered and by which company.
After all of our back and forth, it has finally arrived……..THE CONTRACT. The 42 page contract.
All four parties are currently reviewing to make sure that everything is in line with what we talked about and agreed upon previously. The sample contract that we used was only 30 pages, so there are 12 pages of extra “stuff” that we all need to look through.
Our lawyer works a lot with an agency that specializes in third party reproduction and in particular commercial surrogacy (commercial surrogacy basically means that the surrogate receives compensation for her services) vs. altruistic surrogacy (which does not involve a financial agreement) and commercial surrogacy between unrelated parties. The contract had a lot of extra language surrounding payment for services and payments at points within the process that were not applicable to us. Other than that the contract was pretty much as expected.
We all put together a list of our edits to send back to our lawyer. Once we receive a contract that meets the approval of all parties we can finalize and sign.