A fascinating article that appeared recently in the New York Times shines a light on the ways in which surrogacy is developing in California and around the nation. As the article outlines, the rapid increase in gestational surrogacy has presented family law courts around the country with challenging, and sometimes unexpected, issues.
As the Times notes, California is a state whose family courts have generally been open to surrogacy contracts. In other states, however, they are considered legally unenforceable. The patchwork of state laws and general lack of regulation surrounding the surrogacy industry is leading some medical professionals to express concern. Of course, cases of surrogate mothers falling out with the adoptive parents who hired them are not new: courts have been dealing with these questions for some two decades. But, as the paper notes, the medical and business landscape of surrogacy is evolving rapidly while the family law and court system has moved far more slowly.
Reading the article is it difficult to avoid the conclusion that those considering surrogacy should make a consultation with an experienced Southern California family law attorney an early, and important, part of this kind of family planning. Surrogacy contracts often contain layers of emotional and legal complication that go well beyond those normally associated with adoption.
An Orange County adoption lawyer can offer detailed advice on the best way to navigate the legalities of both surrogacy itself and California adoption (which is frequently an important element of a surrogacy arrangement).
New York Times: Building a Baby, with few ground rules