Julie's Journey - Legal Clearance
Julie S’ Surrogacy Journey - Vol. 3
Things are moving along nicely for my third journey! If you recall, I have had my medical evaluation and have been medically cleared already. The next step was for me to be granted legal clearance. A surrogate must have legal clearance from her attorney, and legal clearance letters must be sent to the Intended Parents’ clinic before she is able to start taking medication in order to prepare her uterus for the embryo transfer.
I will explain how the process worked for me, and as I’ve mentioned before, all journeys are different and timelines can vary significantly.
On February 8th, I was contacted by the legal counsel Abundant Beginnings suggested to me. I have worked with this attorney in the past and was very impressed. The Agency recommends attorneys to the surrogates based on the attorney’s reliability, timeliness, personality, and experience with the surrogacy laws in surrogate’s state of residence.
I signed a retainer document from my phone with the attorney and submitted it right away. The Intended Parents pay for the cost of my attorney, so rest assured you will not need to pay anything! Abundant Beginnings takes care of all of that.
On February 20th, I unknowingly received my contract in my inbox around 2 pm. What’s funny to me is that on my first journey I was checking my e-mail every 10 minutes or so while awaiting my contract. My second journey, I checked my e-mail once an hour hoping to receive it. This 3rd journey, I had it in my inbox for 22 hours before I even realized it! Surrogacy teaches us to be patient in such a beautiful way. I can only imagine how much patience the Intended Parents have had to learn with their own timing.
The contract is definitely a lot to read, but very important to read every single word. Mine was 48 pages, which I am told is normal! Once my husband and I had time to look it over, we scheduled a phone consultation with our attorney to review the document and let her know what questions we had or changes we would like to make. I had printed my contract and highlighted all the questions I had and put notes in the margin where I wanted to change things.
The attorney was so wonderful in making sure that I was comfortable with the wording and if she didn’t like the way something sounded, she mentioned that she would like to remove or change it for the final draft. On the evening of February 22nd, I received what they call a “Red-Lined” contract. This was my original contract with all the changes we made. It then gets sent to the Intended Parents’ attorney and then he shares that with them to see if they approve the changes. This can go back and forth a few times until both parties completely agree on everything. There is no need to rush through this stage. It is extremely important to be okay 100% before signing.
After she had sent the red-line to the other legal counsel, I waited patiently to hear if my IPs approved my changes. During this phase of the journey, there really isn’t much contact between the IPs and myself. It’s always hard because I don’t know what they’re thinking… I hope I don’t offend them by asking for something or shock them with any change I’ve requested. The Agency has told me in the past that it is best not to talk to the intended parents about compensation or legal. It is for a very good reason. Let the professionals handle it so that the relationship does not take a turn at all, and we can focus on the beautiful relationship we are creating.
I received the final draft on March 7th! I printed it once again and both my husband and I had to initial every single page and sign the signature page in front of a notary public. We went to the UPS store to have it notarized (signed in front of the notary and then stamped for approval with the official notary’s stamp.) After that, we shipped off our signed contract to our attorney to be delivered the next day.
On March 8th, the attorney’s office received my contract and then I got an e-mail from my attorney stating she had issued legal clearance! Such an exciting relief! Official legal clearance letters were sent to the clinic, and a calendar listing the start of medications, monitoring appointments, and possible embryo transfer date was created. The next step for me is to wait for my next menstrual cycle to begin so I can start taking medication!
I am so excited for the Intended Parents! It feels great to be moving things along smoothly! Check back soon when I start my meds!