The reason I entitled this blog with an obvious statement is because SOME people just don't think that the expense of hiring an attorney is necessary for a surrogacy contract. (Those are the people you read about in the news!) There are some IP's out there that get on the Internet and find "sample" contracts and think that will fit the bill. They think that a contract is a one size fits all kind of deal at best and at worst they just want to cover the basics to shut up the surrogate. (sounds harsh but truth often is) IP's who are on a budget should not cut corners when it comes to an attorney.
When you hire an attorney it should not be your brother-in-law who only practices criminal law, or family law, or wills and probate. You need an attorney who specializes in ART law (Assisted Reproductive Technology). Someone who is familiar with contracts, ART verbiage, knows what egg donation is and has experience with surrogacy situations. He/She needs to know the laws in your state and the state that your surrogate resides in...just in case someone needs to travel for the birth because of state law. Your attorney needs to have experience with the local judges so that when the parentage actions are done he/she can get everything completed ASAP and having worked with the judge in the past helps.....a lot! Need a passport because you live out side of the USA? Then your attorney should be able to guide you. Have questions regarding social security numbers? He or She should be able to direct you. Have reservations or hesitations regarding how the legal process is done? Then a good ART attorney should be able to help you decide what the best course of action to take is. Need an attorney to review the contract with your surrogate? Then your attorney should have several recommendations for you to choose from.
So maybe your new surrogate with past experience says to you " Lets use my old contract! It will save you money." Well...it's a good start...you know what your surrogate will and will not agree too. You know what she is expecting as far as the benefits package BUT still you need an attorney to make sure that YOU, the IP's are properly represented. After all...the person drawing up that "previously used" contract may not have thought about some of the personal concerns YOU may have. It certainly doesn't have your information listed and you can bet that if you live in a different state that it doesn't quote the correct legal statutes. Plus you still need someone to go over it properly so that you understand what you are agreeing to.
I hope I made my point! You won't regret having your own attorney! (oh, and it will help if you have them hold the escrow as well!That will be another installment!)