The wonderful aspect of being a surrogate mother in the United States is that, not only does she have obligations, but she has rights too. Let’s examine the rights and obligations of gestational surrogates.
First of all, the woman must be ready to perform the obligations in her gestational surrogacy agreementand these include:
- Staying healthy
- Taking medications to prepare for embryo transfer
- Keeping medical appointments
- Cooperating with document and court processes to establish pre-birth orders and legal parentage of the intended parents
- Maintaining a healthy pregnancy by eating right and staying safe - there may be travel restrictions near the date of the delivery. Plus, these days, there be other travel restrictions due to the Zika virus outbreak.
Of course, one of the primary obligations is to make sure the intended parents receive custody of their baby. So the surrogate mother has an obligation to release all claims to being a parent to the baby, and all custodial claims. This is not as worrisome as it sounds because, almost always, gestational surrogates do not want custody of someone else’s baby. They have their own children and if they want another baby, they will have one of their own. In fact, women want to make sure the intended parents will take charge of their baby to ensure she does not have any responsibilities regarding the baby.
As for rights, it is important to understand that in the United States, one of the most ethical aspects of surrogacy is that the surrogate mother has rights. A surrogate’s rights include:
- Selecting the intended parents she wants to carry a baby for
- Choosing her physicians - hopefully these decisions will be made together with the intended parents.
- Making all decisions for her health care, including during the pregnancy and birth
Again, the intention is that the gestational surrogate will make decisions together with the intended parents especially if any medical problems arise during the pregnancy. Although there is a contract, the surrogate mother may make medical decisions that are not in agreement with the intended parents. She has a constitutional right to do this. However, if such decisions are contrary to her obligations in the gestational surrogacy agreement, she will jeopardize her payments, as the intended parents may have a right to stop making payments under the contract.
The good news is that at Worldwide Surrogacy, we have not had situations where the surrogate mother and her intended parents have had contract disputes. The care and attention to detail during the matching phase and screenings, both medical and psychological, are the keys to making good surrogate matches where people get along and have a very positive experience bringing a baby into the world through gestational surrogacy.