Agency/Clinic Contract

The first will be with the surrogacy agency or clinic. This document spells out all your obligations and responsibilities towards each other. You want to be sure it is in plain, easy to read the language. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Better to ask questions several times before you sign than not at all. This contract should discuss all medical, and other aspects the agency will oversee.

Agency / Clinic Contract

The Surrogate Contract

The second contract is the contract between you, the intended parents and your surrogate. This contract is signed directly by you (or someone that represents you). This contract should be detailed. If it is not, run away! It will spell out all the surrogate’s obligations, constraints, and responsibilities. It should include your rights to make decisions that are important throughout the pregnancy.

Usually, the agency has contracts in place with the medical facilities that will be working with you and your surrogate. Therefore, these two contracts are the only ones you will have to worry about.

Generally, you will give your agency a power of attorney to sign on your behalf when you are not in Ukraine.

Any agency worth working with will have their own lawyers. These can be a good source of general legal information; however, you should always have your own counsel review all documents before signing.

I could go on forever on the important points to have in these two contracts, but that is for a different book! Maintain common sense. Remember contracts exist for when things go wrong, and get good counsel, even if it is just for a couple of hours to review the contracts and point out areas of concern. This process is too important to cut corners. Legal services are a small fraction of the cost they are here. Don’t save a few hundred dollars on this critical step.

Here are just a few things to consider when reviewing and considering contracts.

A challenge with contracts with Ukrainian agencies and clinics is they have set contract templates; they do not like to deviate from these at all. The second major issue is that the English can be very poor, so much so that you do not understand what they mean. Make sure they are willing to make adjustments that you want to protect your interests. The templates often are very one-sided in their favor. If they won’t change to meet your concerns, the company is not a good fit for you.

Under Ukrainian law, the embryo and fetus are yours from the moment of conception. The surrogate has no right to custody at any stage. She has no right to make decisions concerning the health of the child she is carrying. Still, I highly recommend the surrogacy agreement contain options for everything you would like, including such topics as selective reduction, termination of pregnancy and other considerations important to you.

The surrogacy contract also addresses problems that might occur with you, the intended parents. What will happen if you divorce during the pregnancy? If one or both of you die?

You want to make sure that all potential outcomes, as much as humanly possible, are covered in the contracts.

One thing to look for is how much direct contact you are able to have with your surrogate, doctors, and others. If you are forbidden from discussing anything with them, it should be a red flag. Why would they not want you to have contact with them? Think about it. I can think of lots of reasons and none of them are good. Perhaps she is not going to receive all the payment in her contract. Perhaps her health and living environment is not what you would want.