What is a Pre- or Post-Birth Order?

Parental rights can be a sticky subject, and one that comes up frequently with alternative family planning, and particularly gestational surrogacy. With something as personal and involved as conceiving and bearing a child, understanding how parental rights work throughout this process, is key to having a smooth and successful experience with surrogacy, both as an Intended Parent and as a Surrogate. 

It is commonly believed that establishing parentage – legally, at least – is as simple as having your name appear on a birth certificate. However, this is not necessarily the case, especially for same-sex couples. A birth certificate is absolutely evidence of parentage, but that does not necessarily mean that it will be recognized as actually establishing parentage everywhere, including in other states. This is where pre- and post-birth orders come in.

So, what is a pre- or post-birth order, exactly? Simply put, pre-and post-birth orders are incredibly important with gestational surrogacy, as they assign parentage to the Intended Parents and remove both rights and obligations from the Surrogate. The exact details can vary from state to state: typically, these documents come up in the 4th month of pregnancy and are signed by the 7th month in pre-birth states. In states that use post-birth orders, the Intended Parents are usually seen in court to establish parentage within days of the birth of their new child. 

While that may seem like a big difference, it actually isn’t one (in practice). The reason for this is simple: pre-birth orders, while not offered in every state, don’t actually go into effect until the child is born. That isn’t to say there is no added value to a pre-birth order, however, because having that process handled months before the birth of your new child can absolutely provide some additional peace of mind. 

 However, those with post-birth orders need not worry (at least, as much as that’s possible when you’re expecting a new child)! For those in this scenario, there is generally a court hearing held after the child is born that may require attendance from the Intended Parents. This hearing is largely a formality, since all of the parties in question are in agreement over who the parents of the child will be.

The most important thing to remember is that whether your Surrogate lives in a pre-birth or post-birth order state, the difference between the two is not significant enough to warrant shying away from your preferred candidate. 

If you have any questions about surrogacy, egg donation or alternative family planning, please contact the experts at Simple Surrogacy today. We are ready and waiting to help you take that next brave step towards the family of your dreams. 

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