Celebrities and high-profile clients who use surrogates to create their families face the threat of having the women carrying their babies exposed by the media. The famous entrust their attorneys and surrogacy agencies to stave off unwanted public attention.
Surrogacy attorneys take precautionary measures to help spare their high-profile clients the kind of trauma Sarah Jessica Parker, her husband Matthew Broderick, and their surrogate endured after former Ohio police chief Barry P. Carpenter broke into their surrogate’s home. Carpenter was found guilty of stealing objects and selling them to the highest tabloid bidder.
While contracts can help protect the privacy of celebrities and their surrogates, nothing is ever foolproof, according to Stephanie Caballero, Esq., the founder and owner of The Surrogacy Law Center, PLC.
However, there are steps attorneys can take.
Using pseudonyms for high-profile clients is customary – a surrogate may never know who she carried for during the surrogacy.
“For a famous client, I would not use their real name at any time in the contract,” Caballero said.
Cases where a surrogate wants to meet her intended parents can prove a bit more challenging. According to Caballero, many times intended parents and surrogates do not reside in the same state, so phone conversations and meeting via Skype are good options. If a celebrity is recognizable, altering his or her appearance by wearing a wig during a video chat, for example, is doable.
Caballero pointed out that there may be instances during the parental order phase where an attorney will only personally work with the judge and his or her appointed clerk.
“On one case, nobody in my office worked on it, only me. I hid the case file, and the surrogate’s name was never disclosed,” Caballero said. “Even with that, you have to be realistic knowing that a courtroom clerk could be paid off – anybody can be paid off.”
A surrogate should also sign a non-disclosure agreement stating she cannot disclose the details of the surrogacy arrangement to anyone. Legal correspondence should not be sent electronically either. The slightest cyber security threat warrants contracts being sent out in some other form.
“I think oftentimes the way surrogates are found out is they tell a friend or family member that they’re doing a surrogacy for somebody famous. Then that person contacts the National Enquirer or TMZ telling them they know someone who is a surrogate for someone famous and what’s that tip worth?” Caballero said.
However, an attorney’s guidance can only go so far, as there are many outside influences which could compromise the confidentiality of any legal matter if the parties themselves do not adhere to strict nondisclosure.