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What are the basics of gestational surrogacy in Florida?

Not every Florida couple can give birth. Some couples will need to look at other options to fulfill their dreams of becoming parents. If you’re among these couples, you might have considered adoption. But that’s not your only option in Florida. You may also choose to work with a surrogate.

Both traditional and gestational surrogacy are legal in Florida. Of the two, gestational surrogacy is more common. This is largely because it avoids some of the trickier legal issues tied to traditional surrogacy.

Whats the difference between the two types of surrogacy?

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is the baby’s biological mother. Florida allows for traditional surrogacy as a type of preplanned adoption. But because the surrogate is also the child’s mother, she has the legal right to keep the baby after giving birth. This is true even if she’s signed a surrogacy contract and agreed to the adoption. There’s almost nothing the intended parents can do about it.

In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate isn’t related to the baby she carries. Instead, she signs an agreement to carry, nurture and deliver someone else’s baby. At least one of the intended parents should typically be the child’s biological parent.

Can a surrogate choose to keep the child after a gestational surrogacy?

Florida says that a contract for gestational surrogacy is binding so long as:

  • The surrogate is at least 18 years old
  • The intended parents are each at least 18 years old, and they are legally married
  • At least one of the intended parents is the child’s biological parent

If the surrogacy meets these criteria, the surrogate has no legal claim to the child. A couple can work with a surrogate even if neither is the child’s biological parent, but the surrogate no longer needs to give up her parental interest.

Can anyone choose surrogacy?

In Florida, gestational surrogacy is an option in three cases:

  • The intended mother cannot give birth to her own child
  • A natural pregnancy would put the child at risk
  • A natural pregnancy would put the mother at risk

Notably, it’s not enough to say you qualify. The law expects you to present a professional medical opinion.

How do the payments work?

Couples who work with a surrogate should expect to pay certain expenses, such as:

  • Living expenses
  • Legal fees
  • Medical bills
  • Mental health expenses

However, the law makes it clear that these expenses must be directly tied to the pregnancy and birth. You are not renting a woman or buying a baby.

What happens after the baby is born?

After the surrogate gives birth, you’ll file to have your parental status affirmed. Then you’ll raise your child.

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