By Leslie Schreiber
Surrogacy is costly – there’s no getting around that. It is important that expenses are controlled and protected during the duration of the surrogacy process.
Surrogacy contracts often (and should) include arrangements for the establishment of an escrow account. The account is intended to distribute the various costs and expenses of the surrogacy. Once the surrogate has delivered the baby, any residual monies are refunded to the intended parents and the account is closed.
In some instances, the escrow fund is administered by the intended parent(s)’ attorney, who has a duty to zealously represent the intended parents, not the surrogate. In other instances, the surrogacy agency will hold the funds in escrow. It is very important in this instance to avoid any potential conflict of interest, so inquire whether the agency has a designated escrow account separate from the agency’s business operating accounts. A third option is hiring a third party organization to hold the funds in escrow. Because these neutral escrow agents are not interested parties to the surrogacy arrangement and do not have a vested interest in the outcome of the arrangement, they should objectively and fairly distribute the funds as necessary. In fact, in certain instances, the third party contract will specifically state that the escrow company strictly adhere to the terms of the surrogacy contract’s compensation schedule. Check with your state’s regulations: it may be required that a third-party escrow agent be utilized to hold administer the funds.
Do your due diligence prior to entering into any escrow arrangement. There are options and one should make sure your expectations are aligned with the agreements you are entering into.