Columbus’ Top Surrogacy and Reproduction Lawyer
We are committed to helping people expand their families. Thomas is one of the most experienced attorneys in Columbus, Ohio, and nationwide, in the practice area of surrogacy and reproductive law. In nearly 20 years of helping people, during an often difficult and emotional time, we have remained dedicated to your goal of growing your family. We understand the various methods utilized in creating a loving and nurturing family and have continuously helped couples adopt. Because of our extensive knowledge of reproductive law, we are able to help many clients start families through Gestational or Traditional Surrogacy.
Who We Represent and What We Do
Our firm prepares and explains all of the legal work involving intended parents, donors, surrogates, unmarried couples (including single parents and gay and lesbian couples), embryo donors, and recipients. We represent clients in respect to their rights and responsibilities regarding any infertility issues, including drafting and negotiation of legal documents.
Because the laws regarding assisted reproductive technology continuously evolve, it is critical to consult with a lawyer experienced in this specific area. The legal work usually includes drafting, review, and negotiation of legal agreements regarding egg donation and/or surrogacy arrangements, or Court filings.
Because each infertility plan is different, intended parents should avoid using standardized documents prepared by infertility clinics or agencies that do not meet specific individual needs. Online contracts should also be avoided as they may not include critical information needed to protect the parties. The agreements should protect the intended parents’ rights to any children born using embryos and address financial responsibility, assumption of risks, and confidentiality.
Donors and Surrogates
Before any medical procedures occur, such as donating genetic material, or agreeing to be a surrogate, all terms should be memorialized in a legal agreement. It is critical for donors and surrogates to consult with an experienced attorney before signing an agreement, as reproductive laws continually change. The agreements should address donor or surrogate rights, confidentiality, health issues, anonymity, future contact, and protection from financial liability.
This is a procedure where a donor provides an egg that is fertilized with sperm from either an intended father or a sperm donor. The resulting embryo(s) can be implanted in the intended mother or another woman who acts as a surrogate. At birth, the intended mother’s name is placed on the birth certificate. An egg donor should also have a Will prepared by an attorney disavowing any legal intention to be the legal or natural parent of any children born through the use of her donated eggs.
It is critical to have a contract prepared by an attorney for any embryo donor. With embryo donation, an embryo(s) is donated to intended parents by a woman who does not intend on using it. There is no genetic relationship between the embryo(s) and the intended parents. The embryo(s) is transferred to the uterus of the intended mother, or gestational surrogate, to conceive a child. The intended mother’s name and intended father’s name, if the couple is legally married, is placed on the birth certificate of the child(ren) at the time of birth if the intended mother carries the donated embryo(s). The intended parents may also consider a legal adoption so that they are recognized as the legal and natural parents of child(ren) born from embryo donation in order to avoid the risk of any parentage action or challenge by the embryo donor.
This is a process by which a woman attempts to carry and give birth to a child created through in vitro fertilization. It utilizes the genetic material of at least one of the intended parents to which the gestational surrogacy has no genetic relationship. An intended parent is a person, or persons, who enter into a gestational surrogacy contract with a gestational surrogate pursuant to which they will become the legal parent of the resulting child. At our firm, surrogate clients come from the Ohio area and across the United States.
Rights of Parentage
A child born to a gestational surrogate will be considered the legitimate child of the intended parents immediately upon birth.
Eligibility to be a Surrogate
A gestational surrogate should meet several requirements. She should be 21 years of age, given birth to at least one child, completed a social, medical, and mental health evaluation, have a separate legal representation/attorney, and have a health insurance policy in place.
Gestational Surrogacy Contract
A gestational surrogacy contract should be signed by the gestational surrogate and, if married, her husband and by the intended parent(s) prior to the commencement of any medical procedure. The contract should be witnessed by two competent and unrelated adult witnesses. There should be separate and independent lawyers for each of the parties and the agreement should consider all legal, financial, and contractual rights, expectations, penalties, obligations, and compensation. Any compensation should be placed in escrow with an independent agent prior to any medical procedure. The contract should also include terms regarding the surrender of custody, medical examinations, and abstention from alcohol or drugs.
When it comes to Surrogacy agreements, you can count on us to take care of the following:
- Advise you every step of the way so that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities under the surrogacy agreement
- Help you select a surrogate and arrange for the appropriate screenings, including medical and psychological
- Prepare and review the surrogate agreement throughout the entire process
- Make a referral to ensure that your surrogate has experienced counsel
- Manage the release of any legal compensation for the surrogate and her outstanding medical bills
- Act as the go-between and the coordinator with all hospital staff and social workers so that the birth certificate process is completed in accordance with the laws of your state
- Draw up all required court documents and represent you at all court appearances so we can ensure that it is your names that are placed on the baby’s original birth certificate
- Review Surrogate’s medical records and any past pregnancy records to consider both physical and psychological pre-screening evaluations to make sure there are no unknown issues at onset of agreement
- Review the medical coverage your insurance will provide to your Surrogate
Like adoption, a surrogacy arrangement can be emotional and time consuming. We have the experience necessary to manage the legal aspects of your surrogacy agreement, whether in the state of Ohio or nationwide. We are also available all day, every day, to help guide and support you through the sometimes emotional process of growing your family.
Because the laws involving surrogacy differ from state to state, it is critical to obtain an attorney who is well versed in reproductive of law nationwide.
Our firm is experienced in dealing with issues which are unique to surrogacy agreements, such as:
- What if the carrier changes her mind?
- Who makes the medical decisions once the carrier is pregnant?
- Whose insurance policy will cover the babies during the pregnancy?
- Whose decision is it to reduce the number of fetuses if the carrier becomes pregnant with multiples?
- What if the carrier wants to keep the baby she is carrying?
If you are looking for an experienced Surrogacy and/or Reproduction Lawyer in the Columbus, Ohio area, please call (614) 241-2181 and start your family today.
At our firm, we encourage you to consider the following issues if you are contemplating or entering into a Surrogacy Agreement:
- Has the Surrogate hosted a child before?
- What is the Surrogate’s motivation?
- How are you willing to compensate your Surrogate?
- Do you and/or your Surrogate have the counseling in place to deal with potentially emotional issues?
A surrogacy agreement, whether traditional or gestational, is a viable way to achieve your dream of creating the family you have always wanted.
But it should be entered into carefully, under the guidance of an attorney with extensive experience and who specializes in reproductive law.
We have that experience and can help. Contact him today.