Julie S’ Surrogacy Journey Vol. 10
I have reached the point in my pregnancy where my Intended Parents and I complete a legal document called a Pre-Birth Order.
Here is how the Law Offices of Steven W. Lazarus explain this step of the process:
In order to establish the Intended Parents’ parental rights toward the child, the Parties must obtain a court order of parentage. This court order establishes that the Intended Parents are the legal parents of the child, that they have full rights and responsibilities once the child is born, and that their names will be listed on the child’s birth certificate. This court order of parentage similarly establishes that the Surrogate (and Surrogate’s spouse if applicable) does not have any rights or responsibilities toward the child. Around 16 weeks of pregnancy, you should expect to receive the proposed court documents, which are drafted by the Intended Parents’ attorney. Your own attorney will review these court documents with you, to make sure that you fully understand the documents before you sign them. Once this is complete, you will sign the documents and send them back, so that they may be filed with the court. A court will review the documents and then issue the order of parentage. This court order is then provided to the hospital, so that the hospital will allow the Intended Parents to make medical decisions for the child, once born. Then the court order will be forwarded from the hospital to Vital Records, with instructions to prepare the child’s birth certificate in the Intended Parents’ name as the parents of the child, and for the surrogate to not be listed as a parent.
After confirming my physical address, it was arranged to have the document (already signed by my Intended Parents) delivered to me via FedEx. My lawyer sent a letter along with it asking that I call her office to go over the paperwork. I called to let her know I received it and that I did not have any questions or concerns.
This is my husband and my third time signing one of these documents. Oddly enough, this is my second most favorite part of my surrogacy journey, the first being the moment the parents get to hold their baby. I’ll share my experiences of what that means to me as we get closer to baby’s due date!
These documents are pretty standard and if I have any questions, my attorney is there to answer them. The document restates items that were written in my Gestational Carrier Agreement and release my husband and I of all parental rights and assign those rights to the Intended Parents. In California, it has not been necessary for me to appear in front of a judge, though in some states this may be required.
The actual signing is very simple, as the directions are very clear (complete with little “sign here” tabs on each line where our signatures are required.) Once we signed, I just slipped it into the prepaid FedEx envelope that was provided and called FedEx to schedule a pick up!
Once the pre-birth order is completed and signed by the judge (the attorney is responsible for taking this before a judge), I will receive a copy and so will the Intended Parents. A copy of the document will also be sent to the social worker at the hopsital. The IPs and I will take those copies with us to the hospital when I go into labor to have as legal backup should there be any questions by the hospital staff.
I should receive the paperwork signed by the judge within the next couple of months! Be sure to check back soon to read about my next update… the ever fun gestational diabetes screening!