Bill and Giuliana Rancic made headlines last year when their surrogate mother miscarried for the second time. Rancic, 40 and a cancer survivor, was unable to carry the embryo herself, due to prescription medication she was taking. As we all know, families are made by a plethora of different methods today, such as through divorce and remarriage, adoption, surrogacy, fostering, and others.
The Rancics were attempting to have a child through what is known as gestational surrogacy. In this process, a third-party woman, otherwise known as the surrogate, is employed for the purpose of carrying an embryo, which is not genetically related to the surrogate, to term. The embryo is constructed in a laboratory, using the sperm of the father and the egg of the mother, and implanted in the surrogate through a process known as in vitro fertilization (IVF). By contrast, traditional surrogacy involves the surrogate’s own egg and the sperm of the father (or a donor). Gestational surrogacy is the preferable option because the child is genetically related to the intended parents directly by DNA.
When Giuliana Rancic was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, the Rancics set aside three embryos so that they would be able to have children someday. One of those embryos was carried to term by a surrogate mother in 2012, when the Rancics announced the birth of their son, Duke. The two remaining embryos both resulted in miscarriage while being carried by their surrogate mother.
Families turn to surrogacy when pregnancy is not an option for them, whether it is due to the age of the mother, or both of the intended parents are the same sex, or a pre-existing medical condition prevents the woman from carrying a child to term. Women who become surrogate mothers are typically paid by the people who want the baby for the nine months of their pregnancy, which creates a need for all parties to consult with attorneys.
What Does Georgia Law Say
Georgia does not necessarily have laws that relate to the topic of surrogacy, unfortunately. The closest law that can be tied to surrogacy is O.C.G.A. § 19-7-21, which is entitled, “When Children Conceived by Artificial Insemination Legitimate.” The law discusses the duty of parents when children are born out of wedlock or through surrogacy. Because Georgia’s laws are not written so clearly, it is important to consult with a family law attorney before entering into a surrogate agreement. Legal contracts should be drawn up and signed by all parties involved.
Are You Thinking About Surrogacy?
Parents who decide to go the route of the Rancics should be aware that miscarriages do happen, and should consider alternative routes to creating a family, as well, such as foster parenting or adoption. For more information about gestational surrogacy, you should speak with your family law attorney to discuss your options and discover whether or not surrogacy is right for your situation. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum, P.C. handle a wide variety of family law cases. Give us a call today for a free consultation about your unique situation at (678) 736-7700.