What is a Surrogacy Contract? Important Details to Know

Surrogacy can be an incredibly fulfilling experience, both for intended parents and surrogates. Before any of the medical procedures involved in surrogacy take place, both parties will agree to a surrogacy contract. The contract guides the entire surrogacy journey, clearly outlining each party’s rights, roles, and responsibilities before, during, and after the pregnancy.  Whether you are an intended parent or a prospective surrogate, you need to sign a surrogacy contract before legally moving forward to the surrogacy process.

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Why is a surrogacy contract so important?

A surrogacy contract, also known as a surrogacy agreement, is a legal document that sets expectations and responsibilities for the rest of your surrogacy journey. It must be drafted by two attorneys, each representing a separate party, to ensure your rights and surrogacy goals are properly addressed.

The most important objective of a surrogacy contract is to protect all parties involved equally and to ensure a successful surrogate pregnancy that discloses all terms of the contract and confirms that the contract follows specific state laws. Both parties should agree on all important financial and medical terms within the agreement. The contract also details the process for making sure that the child will get correct parentage. A successful surrogacy relies on a strong legal foundation.

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What does your surrogacy contract include?

Every surrogacy will look different based on the needs and preferences of the surrogate and the intended parents. Therefore, their surrogacy contract will reflect those personal circumstances.

In general, a well-drafted surrogacy contract includes

Reference to Current Laws

Each contract should have a description of the current laws as it applies to that state. These include the legal surrogacy rights of intended parents and surrogate, expectations and responsibilities through every step.

Medical Consent

Intended parents and surrogates should be on the same page. They agree on the number of embryos to be transferred, positions on abortion and selective reduction, also, the number of fetuses to be carried.


The base compensation of a surrogate must have legal negotiation and contract. Also, the surrogacy contract should address the surrogate’s pregnancy-related costs that must be paid by the intended parents.

Parentage Processes

Both parties MUST be familiar with the parentage processes that need to take place before or after birth. It also includes the steps to establish the intended parents’ rights through a parental order for surrogacy.

Rare/Unusual Outcomes

Surrogacy is a complicated medical process that will come with some risks. The surrogacy agreement should make sure both parties understand these and layout procedures should any unforeseen complications arise.

Why is an independent contractor not a good choice?

Sometimes, intended parents look to avoid the costs of hiring a surrogacy attorney. They choose to create an independent contractor through a sample surrogacy contract found online. However, we strongly advise against this path. The first reason is that trying to develop a surrogacy contract without a surrogacy attorney’s guidance means intended parents will not have the knowledge necessary to protect themselves properly. Besides, the importance of a surrogacy contract goes beyond just the adherence to local surrogacy laws. It also plays an essential role in determining how you, as an intended parent or a surrogate, will protect your rights.

When you work with Joy of Life®, all of your legal interests will be protected and all legalities handled properly. The team at Joy of Life® is ready to assist you every step of the way, ensuring a finalized surrogacy contract with which you are comfortable.

Do you have an interest in learning more about surrogacy or starting the process to become a parent or be a surrogate? Please contact us at Joy of Life® Surrogacy for more information.

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