Allie Weinstein, Founder of Law Offices of Allie Weinstein, is a leading family law expert with a specialization as a Surrogacy Lawyer based in Los Angeles. SurrogateFirst jumped at the opportunity to learn how coronavirus is impacting surrogacy contracts and what legal measures we should consider as both Intended Parent and Surrogate perspectives.
Allie, how has coronavirus impacted the legal surrogacy cases in CA?
We have seen a tremendous slowdown in surrogacy matches. Fertility clinics are closed except to monitor existing patients; however, we are starting to see some clinics reopening. In the meantime, we have been busy with preparing Pre-Birth orders, and we are drafting power of attorneys/temporary guardianship documents for Intended Parents who are not in the same geographic area as their surrogate, in case of any potential travel restrictions.
What changes to legal surrogacy contracts should be addressed concerning coronavirus?
We are advising both intended parents and surrogates to consider adding the following to surrogacy contracts to reflect the current situation:
- surrogate will follow all shelter-in-place and social distancing orders and recommendations. Further, the Surrogate shall strictly abide by the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) (for example, see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts.html), which include, among other things: frequently washing your hands and not touching your face, mouth, nose ears, and eyes; avoiding close contact with other people; avoiding crowds such as attending concerts, sporting events, movies at theaters, and plays at theaters; attending amusement parks; working out at home rather than at a public gym; avoiding people who are sick; not shaking hands or engaging in other contact greetings; eating meals at home that you prepare rather than eating at a restaurant; and, cleaning and disinfection the kitchen, bathroom, and other home surfaces daily.
- extensive back-up plans in the event the Intended Parent is not able to make the birth and care for the child afterwards. This includes stating who will take care of the child and what happens in the back-up guardian contract Covid-19.
- For Intended Parents that engage a surrogate in a contract, but request to start the cycle at a later date, they will have to consider including a waiting fee. If there is no valid medical reason to delay the cycle and purely at the request of the intended parent, it is appropriate to include a waiting provision to have the surrogate compensated for her time. We must consider that there are potential impacts to a surrogate’s life and career based on extended waiting periods and they should be properly compensated as such. Surrogates would receive a monthly allowance and an additional waiting fee.
- For existing matches that have yet to start up cycles again the same applies. It is appropriate for the surrogate to ask for an addendum for a waiting fee. Again, this is valid if the request is solely based on the request of the intended parents and there is no medical reason to not move forward with the cycle.
How should international Intended Parents protect themselves?
We are advising international intended parents (and non-local IP’s) to prepare in advance and designate POA/temporary guardians in the case they are not able to be present at the birth or immediately after the birth to take custody of their baby. We have seen cases where the travel ban has restricted intended parents from entering the US before their baby is born due and after the birth of their child. We highly recommend in this case to engage an immigration lawyer to request a special exception for the sole purpose to retrieve their newborn baby. This has worked in many cases with IP’s from Canada and China.
What does the future of surrogacy hold post-coronavirus?
The US is still the forefront leader in reproductive medicine and many states have incredibly friendly surrogacy laws.
My prediction is that once there is a vaccine or herd immunity and restrictions are lifted, Surrogacy in the U.S. will skyrocket. Coronavirus and shelter in place has indeed turned our lives upside down, and the one thing we have all realized is the importance of family; and we will see more people wanting to grow and start families.
More about Allie Weinstein
Law Offices of Allie Weinstein practice specializes in family law and family formation law in Los Angeles, California. She founded her law firm to bring dedicated and effective legal representation to clients struggling through highly emotional issues. Annually, she advises and represents hundreds of Intended Parents and Surrogates from all over the world on all aspects of Surrogacy, Egg and Sperm Donation, and Embryo Donation. She is expert at drafting Surrogacy Contracts and obtaining parentage judgments.