At ConceiveAbilities, surrogates and intended parents are equal partners. Our commitment and our promise to you, as your full-service surrogacy agency, is to protect and guide you through every step of the surrogacy process, including making sure you understand your rights as a surrogate.
Our comprehensive All-In Surrogate Care & Compensation Package includes legal guidance to ensure your surrogate rights are protected and you fully understand the surrogacy process. We have a team of experts with decades of experience to help you ensure that your rights are contractually protected. You will be fully involved and a partner in all the important decisions, legally protected and equipped with a team of insurance, mental health professionals and other surrogacy experts.
Surrogacy journeys are complicated and, as a surrogate, you are offering an amazing gift to another family. With our decades of experience, we know how to look around the corners and make sure that your rights, your voice, and your expectations are held to the highest standard.
One of the most important ways for a surrogate to protect her rights is the team that she works with to accomplish the surrogacy journey. As Dr. Eve Feinberg of Northwestern Medicine Fertility shares, there may be up to 20 individuals working together to help bring new life, a baby, into the family of the intended parents. And, at ConceiveAbilities, we work with the full team to ensure that the surrogate is well-informed, well-protected and well-cared for throughout that process.
The Right Match: With the support of Matching Matters™, you will choose a compatible intended family to work with and, with our assistance, you will have a foundation of shared decision making.
Legal Protection: You have a dedicated, independent attorney, free to you, to ensure your rights, needs and expectations are contractually protected. While state laws vary, as a surrogate, you always have the right to:
Full Insurance: You are guaranteed insurance that protects your for medical complications, accidental death, bed rest disability and other coverages at no cost to you.
The surrogacy legal landscape is different in each state and is constantly changing. Our team of reproductive law experts are up-to-date on the newest laws and know what needs to be done to protect the surrogate and the parents partnering in a surrogacy journey. You will have full access to our in-house legal team throughout your journey. If you have any questions about the rights or protections you will receive as a surrogate, please contact our team of experts today.
Gina-Marie Madow, Esq., Director of Legal Services
Gina-Marie has spent her entire career assisting thousands of parents with all aspects of their surrogacy and egg donation journeys. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the Massachusetts School of Law and has been involved in ART law for 13 years. She is a sought-out thought leader in ART law serving as a guest lecturer at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and as a member of the Massachusetts Parentage coalition. Gina-Marie has been featured in prominent publications including Business Insider, Wall Street Journal and Good Morning America.
Fran Caruso, Esq., Attorney and Legal Consult
As in-house counsel and legal consultant, Fran provides legal guidance on varying Assisted Reproductive Technology law matters. She also helps to educate potential clients about ConceiveAbilities and provide them with legal support during their journey to become parents. Prior to joining ConceiveAbilities, Fran was in private practice, specializing in family formation and fertility law matters. She is an alumnus of Vanderbilt University where she received a Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree. She earned her law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law where she graduated cum laude.
Melissa Torto, Esq. Surrogacy Attorney
Melissa, an independent attorney, works closely with ConceiveAbilities, leveraging her extensive knowledge of ART law. She has worked as an ART and Surrogacy Attorney since graduating from Suffolk University Law School in 2015. Melissa has assisted hundreds of parents with drafting and negotiating egg donor and gestational carrier agreements, as well as establishing parentage rights, drafting insurance appeals and adoption petitions, and guiding parents through the legal issues that surround the entire surrogacy process. Melissa has been a moderator on a panel for the American Bar Association and continues her surrogacy outreach by visiting clinics and attending conferences regarding Family and Surrogacy Law.
It is important to know the legal landscape for surrogacy so you feel confident and can be a full participant in the process. Here are the answers to some of your common questions::
The legal contract between the surrogate and her intended parents, known as the Gestational Carrier Agreement ("GCA"), sits at the heart of your match with intended parents. It’s equally crucial for both surrogate and intended parent alike, so that each parties’ rights and responsibilities to one another are clearly outlined.
Every state has different surrogacy laws and legal precedents. New York recently enacted the Gestational Surrogates' Bill of Rights, the gold standard of surrogate rights. It ensures gestational surrogates are aware of their rights as they relate to their health and welfare, right to independent legal counsel, health insurance and medical costs, life insurance and contract termination protections.
No. The gestational carrier agreement protects the surrogate from any kind of legal or medical responsibility for the child. That said, the concern that the surrogate may become attached to the baby is a common misconception about surrogacy. Listen to our Busting Surrogacy Myths with Dr. Heather Carlson to learn more about surrogacy facts.
A court order ensures that the parentage is properly established. The particulars of how and when the court order occurs vary by state; at ConceiveAbilities, our legal experts guide these activities. A pre-birth order is a court order that establishes the intended parent(s) as the legal parents of the baby.
First, it’s important to address the different types of surrogacy. While it’s rarely practiced today – and in many states, it’s illegal – traditional (genetic) surrogacy still exists. This means that the surrogate’s own egg is used, making her the child’s genetic mother. It can invite many potential legal and other complications, which is why few intended parents choose this route and is not a type of surrogacy offered by ConceiveAbilities.
In the more common gestational surrogacy arrangement, and the arrangement that ConceiveAbilities work with exclusively, the surrogate undergoes In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and carries a child that is genetically related to the intended parents or donor(s). With a proper legal contract in place to protect all parties, gestational surrogacy arrangements are the safest route.
Surrogacy laws vary by state. First and foremost, the surrogate must reside in a state where surrogacy is permitted. In states where surrogacy is specifically prohibited, there may be a risk of criminal and civil penalties, among other risks. Working with a reputable agency like ConceiveAbilities and an attorney who is well versed in surrogacy law is the only way to mitigate these risks; having surrogacy contracts explained protects both the intended parents’ and the surrogate’s rights.
Ultimately, recognizing a surrogate’s rights are imperative to a smooth surrogacy journey. We’re here to inform and support you every step of the way.
And, are you a woman who enjoyed a healthy and successful pregnancy? Do you have friends or family who have suffered from infertility or need assistance from someone else to build their family? Have you ever considered the role you could play in helping someone else build their family - as a surrogate? Learn more about the surrogacy process of helping someone else's dream of building a family come true. We would love to talk with you.