How Does Surrogacy Work in Georgia and North Carolina?

When intended parents like you are considering surrogacy to build their family, they may have no prior experience with the process. You may have come to this webpage knowing that surrogacy can help you have the biological child you’ve always dreamed about — but how exactly does surrogacy work?

Whether you are interested in the surrogacy process in Georgia or North Carolina, the attorneys at Claiborne|Fox|Bradley can provide the guidance you need. In cooperation with our local surrogacy program, Southern Surrogacy, we can help intended parents through the practical and legal surrogacy process, step-by-step, and help you make your parenthood dreams come true.

You can always contact our surrogacy attorneys at 404-442-6969 to talk in depth about how to have a baby through surrogacy in Georgia or North Carolina. In the meantime, we have outlined the seven basic steps of the surrogacy process below.

1. Decide that Surrogacy is Right for You.

Before you can proceed with a gestational surrogacy process or a traditional surrogacy process, you must first understand what these processes entail. By reading this article, you are one step closer.

In order to decide whether surrogacy is right for you, you must know how surrogacy works and what benefits it will offer your family. For example, if you are a hopeful parent deciding between surrogacy and adoption, you will need to understand the pros and cons of each before choosing a family-building path. If you are in this situation, you can contact our attorneys for more information. Because we provide legal services for both adoption and surrogacy, we can answer whatever questions you have and give you the information you need to make the best choice for you.

If you are considering the process of surrogacy, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to have a child who is genetically related to me or my spouse or both?
  • Am I comfortable with having another person carry my baby to term?
  • Do I need an egg or sperm donor?
  • Am I prepared for the financial commitment of the surrogacy process?

Again, our surrogacy attorneys can discuss in detail the different aspects of the surrogacy process to help you determine what’s best for you.

2. Find a Surrogate.

In general, there are three ways that intended parents can find a surrogate for their process of surrogacy: independently through networking and social media, with friends or family interested in a compassionate surrogacy journey, or by agency assistance. Whichever path you choose, Claiborne|Fox|Bradley can represent you.

Independent matches are matches made without the assistance of a surrogacy professional. Intended parents usually find a surrogate through networking, like social media and surrogacy websites. They must vet a surrogate on their own to ensure their surrogacy desires match up with hers and that she is truly ready for the surrogacy process. Once a match is made, a surrogacy attorney guides both parties through the rest of their surrogacy steps.

When an intended parent has a friend or family member offer to be a surrogate, it’s typically through a compassionate (or altruistic) surrogacy process. This means the surrogate does not receive base compensation; instead, she is performing this service out of goodwill for her loved ones.

Finally, intended parents can find a surrogate through a surrogacy program like Southern Surrogacy. These programs recruit and evaluate women who want to be surrogates and then match the potential surrogates with intended parents. These professionals usually also provide case management and support services through the entire surrogacy process, step by step.

If you are unsure how to find a surrogate for your gestational surrogacy process, our lawyers can further explain these steps and the legalities involved in finding and legalizing a match.

3. Complete the Screening Process.

Both intended parents and surrogates need to undergo screening before they can be approved for the medical surrogacy procedure. The reproductive endocrinologist or fertility doctor working with the intended parents will evaluate the potential surrogate to make sure that she is healthy enough to carry a surrogate pregnancy.  The screening will also address the mental and emotional risks of surrogacy through a mental health evaluation performed by a professional.

Typically, intended parents and their surrogate will also have a group session with a mental health professional. This allows each party to express their thoughts and concerns about the surrogacy process and your expectations for each other.

When you work with our attorneys at Claiborne|Fox|Bradley, we will provide references to trusted professionals for this screening stage.

4. Sign the Surrogacy Contract.

If all parties are medically approved for the procedure of surrogacy and psychologically approved for the challenges of the surrogacy process, they can move forward with the contract stage of their surrogacy. This legal contract will solidify a match and set forth the expectations and responsibilities of each party in how their surrogacy works moving forward.

The surrogacy attorneys at Claiborne|Fox|Bradley can represent either intended parents or surrogates. If you work with us as an intended parent, you will receive our separate representation, and we will help your surrogate obtain a separate lawyer for this legal process of surrogacy. That way, we can focus on your rights and expectations regarding surrogacy and create a contract you are comfortable with.

5. Complete the Medical Process.

Once your surrogacy contract is complete, you will be able to complete the embryo transfer. After your surrogate adequately prepares her body for the transfer with a few weeks of medication, your fertility clinic will transfer the embryo to her uterus. The clinic will test for pregnancy after a certain amount of time, and then your surrogate will receive prenatal care from her local obstetrician.

If you haven’t yet created embryos for transfer, or need an egg or sperm donor, your fertility clinic will work with you to complete these medical procedures. If you need a reference to a trusted local fertility clinic, our surrogacy attorneys are happy to provide them to you.

6. Establish Parental Rights.

During the surrogate’s pregnancy, our lawyers will work with you to establish your parental rights according to your state laws. This legal surrogacy process will vary, but you will likely be able to obtain a pre-birth parentage order. This legal document will establish you as your child’s parents before they are born, allowing you to make medical decisions for them and have your name be placed on their birth certificate.

If you are curious about the legal parental procedure of surrogacy, you can always contact our professionals with your particular questions. Our attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced in the legal surrogacy process in Georgia and North Carolina, and we can represent you through this important process.

7. Welcome Your New Baby!

Before your surrogate gives birth, all parties to the surrogacy will work with her local hospital to create a delivery plan. In most hospitals, you will be able to be present during the birth of your child. The medical professionals there will understand your surrogacy situation and appropriately refer to the right parties during the delivery process. If any legal confusion arises, your surrogacy attorneys will support you, as well as any other surrogacy professionals you have if you are working with an agency or program.

How surrogacy works in Georgia and North Carolina will vary based on your personal surrogacy goals and needs. To best prepare for it, you’ll want to work with professionals like the surrogacy attorneys at Claiborne|Fox|Bradley. Contact us to learn more about starting your surrogacy journey today.

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