Surrogacy in Florida
This guest post by Florida attorneys Roia Barrios and Stefan Beuge focuses on surrogacy in Florida and the legal aspects of obtaining parentage for intended parents who are going through a surrogacy journey in the sunshine state.
Many factors may influence where to embark on your surrogacy journey. Because there are no federal laws regulating surrogacy, legislation is left to individual states. Any intended parents should be familiar with each state’s approach to surrogacy in order to make the best decision for their family.
States are generally categorized as surrogacy friendly, non-surrogacy friendly, or somewhere in between. While Florida is sometimes considered a “somewhere in between” state, it should lean into the category of “surrogacy friendly.” Unlike many states, Florida has a statute permitting surrogacy. Chapter 742, Florida Statutes, provides that there will be a “binding and enforceable contract” where the “gestational surrogate agrees to relinquish any parental rights.” The clarity provided by the statute makes Florida more desirable for a intended parents than states that lack surrogacy statutes.
Florida is a post-birth state, which means that parentage is not legally established until after the birth of the child. This alone, however, should not dissuade Intended parents from using a Florida surrogate. In practice, the benefits afforded by pre-birth states can be replicated through various means with the help of an attorney.
Prior to birth, the attorney can obtain an order from the judge granting the intended parents the rights and privileges as though the child was born to the intended parents. The order allows the intended parents to make medical decisions, have access to the child upon birth, and have the child discharged to the intended parents from the hospital. In fact, many hospitals require such an order prior to delivery.
Once the child is born, the attorney will petition the court for a legal affirmation of parental status. The documents required for the petition may be executed in advance and the intended parents are not required to be present for the hearing. Once the court has established “that a binding and enforceable gestational contract has been executed… the court shall enter an order stating that the intended parents are the legal parents of the child.” Fla. Stat. § 742.16.
Intended parents should feel comfortable commencing their surrogacy journey in Florida. A knowledgeable surrogacy attorney can ensure that, throughout the journey, parental rights are granted and protected.
Beuge Barrios is a boutique law practice exclusively dedicated to Assisted Reproductive Technology law and helping intended parents create their very own families. Based in Tampa, Florida, Roia Barrios and Stefan Beuge represent both domestic and international clients in gestational surrogacy agreements, preplanned adoptions, as well as egg, sperm and embryo donations.