When thinking about having kids via surrogacy, the legal part is just as important as the IVF process itself. Making sure that the agreements with the surrogate and the egg donor are set up properly is a solid base for the whole process itself. And then there are issues like legal guardianship and birth certificates that are also crucial for finishing the process with babies that are completely, legally yours. We turned to Fertility Lawyer and gay dad Richard Vaughn of International Fertility Law Group, to set the record straight about the legal steps that must be taken when having babies through IVF.
If you're going through the surrogacy path, you're going to have more than just the agreement with the egg donor and with the surrogate. "You would typically have an agency, if you're being match with a surrogate or a donor agency, so you may have two agencies or you can find your surrogate and egg donor at the same agency," explains Fertility Lawyer Richard Vaughn. "You will have written agreements with the clinic, these are usually called Informed Consent Documents. In these documents the doctors need your consent before they proceed, so they should, in writing, explain the procedures, the medications, the risks to those things, the benefits, the goal."
"Then you'll have contracts with the donor and with the surrogate, and there's additional legal work that follows after that including guardianship documents and the parental establishment court process."
"The analogy to construction or building a house is quite crystal clear because in buying a house you've got escrow and you've got tons of documents that you're signing, some of them electronically, and you just click, click, click," adds Vaughn. "In many of these situations, at least with the Informed Consent Document at clinics it's a lot of stuff that goes over your head unless someone is explaining it to you."
About Richard Vaughn
Fertility law attorney Rich Vaughn combined his passion for family formation with over 20 years of experience in business and technology law and founded International Fertility Law Group (IFLG), one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focusing on assisted reproductive technology law. Rich is also married to Tommy Woelfel and a father of twins born via surrogacy.
Vaughn first studied reproductive and fertility law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law in the early 1990s. In 1993, Rich began providing litigation, contract, technology, marketing and corporate legal services to individual clients, companies and municipalities in Chicago and Los Angeles. During his own experience of becoming a parent via egg donation and surrogacy, Rich discovered a renewed passion for fertility law and launched IFLG, which focuses exclusively on assisted reproductive technology legal services. Since then he's had the opportunity to help thousands of intended parents from all over the world create families via assisted reproduction.