Legal Steps for Surrogacy in Georgia
The Surrogacy Contract: Gestational Surrogacy Agreement
As we have already mentioned, your surrogacy contract signed at the beginning of your journey is extremely important. After medical screening at the fertility clinic is complete, drafting of the legal contracts begin. At the time you match, Family Makers reviews all of the important topics that both parties should agree on before ever even reaching out to a surrogacy attorney. Topics include things like surrogate compensation, what health insurance will be purchased and utilized, who has been chosen for legal counsel, what hospital and physician will be used for the pregnancy, and a wide range of other issues.
This surrogacy agreement also outlines important details that will eventually be used for the parental filing step we will discuss next. Is a egg donor or sperm donor being used to create the Intended Parents’ embryos? Embryo donor, where the embryo isn’t biologically related to the Intended Parent(s)? Is this a Traditional Surrogacy or Gestational Surrogacy arrangement? Single parent or married couple? Heterosexual couple or gay couple? Type of surrogacy? Stating all of this in the surrogacy agreement shows clear intent and understanding by all parties from the very beginning of the surrogacy process.
Establishing Parental Rights: Pre-Birth Orders in Georgia
Once pregnancy has been established and the first trimester is behind you, the second legal step is completed. The experienced surrogacy professionals, including your case manager and attorney, will again be involved, this time in drafting or reviewing paperwork for establishing parental rights. This paperwork will later be submitted to a judge declaring the legal parents of the baby that will be born. In Georgia, both the Surrogate and the Intended Parents must have legal representation for this phase. Paperwork drafted includes a request to the courts acknowledging the surrogacy arrangement, and supporting documentation in the form of multiple affidavits. These affidavits are signed by the Surrogate, Intended Parent(s), and fertility doctor who oversaw embryo creation and embryo transfer. One significant statement details that the Surrogate cannot medically even be the biological mother of the baby due to the fertility clinic’s oversight of her cycle.
All affidavits are extremely detailed in nature, and provide acknowledgement from all parties that the baby was created and carried in an ethical and responsible way, with everyone understanding that the Gestational Carrier is giving up any parental rights to the baby she is carrying. Intended Parents must also state their acceptance of the baby as their own. Most filings in Georgia are then presented to a Fulton County judge. Once signed by the judge, this is called an executed Pre-Birth Order which officially names the Intended Parent(s) as the legal parent to the baby.
Surrogacy Birth Certificates in Georgia
As your experienced surrogacy agency and advocate, Family Makers will also provide a copy of the executed Pre-Birth order and a Birth Preferences document to the hospital where the baby will be born. These documents will be shared with the obstetrician, social worker, labor and delivery staff and the hospital’s risk management to ensure everyone’s wishes are followed as closely as possible on delivery day. Most hospitals in Georgia have experience with surrogacy deliveries now, and rarely have questions when it comes to who’s name goes on the Birth Certificate. The Pre-Birth order specifically instructs Georgia Vital Records to indicate the Intended Parents’ as the original names to be placed on the hospital birth certificate questionnaire. Once submitted to the Georgia Vital Records Office in Atlanta, Intended Parents can expect to get an official copy of the Birth Certificate a couple of weeks after delivery. Hospitals we have worked with include, but not limited to:
Northside Hospital – Atlanta, Cumming, Lawrenceville
Wellstar – Kennestone
Piedmont Hospital– Atlanta, Cumming, Stockbridge, Macon
Atrium Navicent Health – Macon
Memorial Health -Savannah
St. Joseph’s/Candler – Savannah
St Mary’s Health Care System – Athens
Piedmont – Athens Regional Hospital
Houston Healthcare – Warner Robins
Memorial Satilla Health – Waycross
East Georgia Regional Hospital – Statesboro
Phoebe Putney Hospital – Albany
South Georgia Medical Center – Valdosta
Northeast Medical Center – Gainesville