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Is Surrogacy Legal in Florida?
For those who live in the state of Florida, you may wonder if surrogacy legal in Florida. If your dream is to become a surrogate or to have a baby of your own but can’t through traditional means, then there is hope. Surrogacy law in Florida, as it stands, currently legalizes the practice of surrogacy with paid surrogate mothers. Florida is considered a surrogate-friendly state. However, it does have stipulations on its law. Here’s everything you need to know about surrogacy law in Florida.
Can You Use Surrogacy in Florida?
The biggest question that prospective surrogates have is if they can join a surrogate agency in Florida. The answer is yes. Florida’s laws currently legalize the use of surrogacy for intended parents to have a baby of their own. So, if you’re searching “surrogacy near me” and live in the state of Florida, you can join a surrogate agency such as Made in the USA Surrogacy.
However, state law may interfere with federal law. As such, it’s important that you join with a surrogate agency in Florida, so you understand all of the regulations regarding the process of surrogacy. Our surrogate agency offers surrogate attorneys for their surrogates and intended parents.
Although they are primarily used to help forge a surrogate agreement between the two parties, they’re also there to answer any questions that you might have about surrogacy laws in Florida.
It’s also important to join a surrogacy agency because we have our own qualifications that better the chances of a healthy pregnancy. In order to join an agency, you first have to pass our surrogacy qualifications. These surrogacy qualifications are put into place or your protection, the protection of the intended parents, and to help ensure that you have the best chance possible of having a healthy pregnancy.
Traditional or Gestational Surrogacy?
When you become a surrogate, you may wonder which kind of process you’ll be undergoing. Traditional surrogacy involves the use of the surrogate’s own eggs to fertilize. She’ll undergo IVF with the father’s sperm being injected into her egg. As a result, she is the biological mother of the surrogate baby, but she loses all parental rights over the baby per an agreement plan that’s written and signed beforehand. For the most part, traditional surrogacy is not in practice much anymore as IVF and fertility doctors are able to transfer the intended parents’ genetic material or egg donor’s material into the surrogate without using her genetics. In Florida, this agreement is called the preplanned adoption agreement.
While traditional surrogacy is available in Florida, not all surrogacy agencies allow it. Instead, like ours, they prefer gestational. This process of surrogacy is a little different. When you become a surrogate with our agency, you won’t become the biological mother of the surrogate baby.
Instead, IVF is used between the two intended parents. During IVF, egg cells and sperm cells are collected from both intended parents and placed in a petri dish. After fertilization, it creates an embryo. As for the surrogate, she undergoes an embryo transfer once the embryo–and her body–is ready for it. After the embryo transfer, if the embryo is accepted by her body, she is officially pregnant.
Gestational allows intended parents to use their own biological cells to create the baby. In this way, the baby is entirely their own. However, in the event that one parent doesn’t have healthy enough cells to donate, they can look for another donor. That donor will not be the surrogate.
Like traditional, gestational also requires a surrogate agreement. Both parties will come together with a surrogate attorney to discuss the birth plan, custody, and other legal matters.
Even though the use of a surrogate may be legal in Florida, not every state allows compensated surrogates. If you want to become a surrogate, then one of the reasons for doing so may be to help boost your income for a home purchase or for saving for your own children’s college funds.
Surrogacy in Florida does legalize compensated surrogates. If you want to become a surrogate in the state of Florida, then you can be compensated for it. However, Florida does make it clear that intended parents are not paying the surrogate for the baby.
Instead, you are paying for her lost wages, travel expenses, maternity clothes, and other expenses that she would otherwise pay in order to have the baby. The exact price of the process is up to the agency and our surrogate benefit package.
For a full understanding of how much you can make as a surrogate, you can check out our compensation page.
Same-Sex Intended Parents
Some laws may prohibit same-sex parents from using surrogates to have their babies. This is not the case in Florida. If you’re a same-sex parent in Florida and searching “surrogacy near me,” then you’re in luck. Florida allows same-sex parents to use surrogates.
You’ll need to use gestational since you’ll require either an egg or a sperm donor. Otherwise, the process will be exactly the same.
Before the process can begin, surrogates and intended parents need to sit down with each other and a surrogate attorney. This meeting is called the surrogate agreement or the signing of a surrogate contract. During that meeting, the surrogate and her partner will discuss with the intended parents their concerns or any stipulations that they may have.
The intended parents also discuss certain desires that they may have since the surrogate is carrying their baby.
Important decisions are also discussed like what happens if the surrogate’s life is threatened. While a healthy pregnancy is more common, problems and complications do arise. There needs to be an agreed-upon plan to handle those problems should they occur.
In this way, the surrogate cannot be held accountable if she has to have the baby extracted in order to save her life. That being said, it also protects the intended parents in losing a baby that would have otherwise been healthy in the event that the surrogate decides that she just doesn’t want to be a surrogate anymore.
Another facet of the surrogate contract is the birth plan. This plan involves laying out an understanding of what will occur the day that the surrogate has to be taken to the hospital to give birth. It will state who can be in the room with her while she’s giving birth and what kind of birthing technique will be used.
Most importantly, the contract will cover the custody of the baby. This ensures that the surrogate is not recognized as a legal parent. The intended parents are.
Establishing Legal Parentage
Although it is not required by law, intended parents are able to submit a pre-birth order in Florida. During the second trimester, intended parents and their surrogate attorney can go to court to file an affirmation of their parental status. The court will recognize them as parents of the baby even though it’s currently being grown in someone else’s body.
This order allows parents to be inside the hospital room when the surrogate is giving birth. It also allows them to amend the names that are printed on the baby’s birth certificate later.
While a pre-birth order does not see the intended parents as legal parents just yet, it’s a good step to take for intended parents who want to ensure that the hospital won’t refuse their presence during the birth.
In order for intended parents to gain their legal status as legal parents of the baby, they need to file a petition for affirmation of parental rights. You can find out more about the statute here. The intended parents must file that petition within three days of their baby’s birth.
When the traditional process is used, parents will instead need to file for the adoption of the baby. Through this process, the surrogate will terminate their legal rights as the parents, and the intended parents will become the legal parents instead.
Since most surrogacy agencies only allow gestational processes, intended parents likely won’t have to worry about this additional step.
Intended parents and prospective surrogates can find help in the state of Florida. The state has legalized the use of surrogates in both traditional and gestational processes. Depending on what agency you use, you may only be able to use gestational surrogates.
Before the process can begin, surrogates and intended parents will go over the legal matters of the pregnancy and birth together and with an attorney. Should a problem arise during the pregnancy, the agreement will cover the actions that need to take place and your surrogate attorney will help you navigate any waters that are unsure.
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Our surrogate agency can help you become a surrogate or have the baby of your dreams. Contact us today.