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What decision powers do surrogates and intended parents have?

October 5, 2022

A common concern for those considering surrogacy in North Carolina is how much control they will have over the surrogacy process and outcome. You may wonder whether the surrogate will remain committed to the agreement and whether you will be able to override decisions for how the surrogate handles the pregnancy.

Under amended state law, both surrogate mothers and hopeful parents have rights and responsibilities, but the legal agreement they make determines most disputes. Thus, it is essential to create your agreement carefully.

Valid agreements

Valid agreements must meet certain requirements in North Carolina. Agreements that do not meet all requirements are vulnerable to termination, so state law requires that each party receive legal advice when entering a surrogacy agreement.

To establish a valid agreement, the surrogate and intended parent or parents must agree to the artificial insemination in writing and before a notary public. Any spouses, including a spouse of the surrogate, must be involved in the legal agreement. After completing this process, the contract will need to go before a court for approval.

The judge will have additional requirements before turning the agreement into a legally-binding contract. For example, he or she will require that the involved parties establish reasonable and clear arrangements of all relevant financial obligations from insemination to afterbirth care.

Parent and surrogate rights

After the surrogate’s artificial impregnation, the court may only terminate an agreement if the involved parties included terms for ending it in the contract. For example, the parents may set terms to end the agreement if the surrogate does not meet certain requirements.

Parents can indeed set certain terms in the agreement that the surrogate must uphold. Among these terms are agreements to abstain from “activities that the intended parent or the physician believes to be harmful to the pregnancy and future health of the child.” These may include refraining from smoking, drinking and drugs, as well as following through on all medically-recommended behaviors, treatments and examinations. However, the mother retains the right under North Carolina law to act in the best interest of her own health and that of the fetus.

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