By Emilee Gehling & Isabella Erickson
Starting a family is an exciting adventure. If you or your partner cannot safely become pregnant, surrogacy is an excellent option for having biological children. Surrogacy journeys are special personal journeys with benefits that will last a lifetime, but they are also complicated legal journeys. What do you need to do to start a surrogacy journey? How do I find a surrogate? How do I do this the right way?
Because surrogacy is so complicated, it may be valuable to begin with a surrogacy agency. Reputable surrogacy agencies vet intended parents as well as potential surrogates to ensure that they are fit, healthy, and ready to navigate a surrogate pregnancy. The matchmaking process surrogacy agencies use will help you find a surrogate who shares your goals and will work well with you. An agency will also be able to help you find an attorney.
Having an attorney is a crucial part of the surrogacy journey. You and your surrogate should have separate attorneys. Your attorney will advocate on your behalf, and they can help to facilitate important conversations and negotiate the surrogacy agreement. Most importantly, an attorney will help you ensure that you check all the boxes required to be legally recognized as your child’s parent. This will include, for example, drafting a pre-birth order and a post-birth order which, when approved by a court, establishes that you are the parent of your child. When you are looking for a surrogacy attorney, you should be sure that they have experience in surrogacy. One great resource for finding a surrogacy attorney is the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. https://adoptionart.org/find-an-attorney/
Iowa does not regulate surrogacy, but surrogacy is legal and completely doable. A 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision approved gestational surrogacy agreements and held that they were in enforceable. However, surrogacy is complicated, and you should not attempt it alone. Without professional help, you are more likely to run into trouble during your surrogacy journey. For example, it is easy to miss steps in the legal process. This might result in difficulty becoming legal parent to your child. With an attorney’s help, you can avoid these headaches.
For more information on surrogacy in Iowa, contact Gehling Osborn Law Firm, PLC. Emilee Gehling is a licensed attorney, highly experienced in surrogacy law, and a Fellow of the American Association of Assisted Reproduction Attorneys.