When Alhambra attorney Evie Jeang went to a fertility clinic five years ago to freeze her eggs, she didn’t know it would lead to a new niche for her law practice.
Once clinic executives learned that Jeang was a family law attorney, they started passing along surrogacy contracts for her to review, mostly on behalf of potential surrogate mothers.
“Very few attorneys had experience with these contracts, so they were looking for a fresh set of eyes,” she said.
Then Jeang started getting queries from wealthy Chinese couples looking to have Amer-ican surrogate mothers carry their children. These couples want their children to have U.S. citizenship, but face challenges in travel and visas. So they are willing to spend up to $200,000 to have an American surrogate carry their child and give birth here.
“They were coming to me because I’m one of the only attorneys with experience in this area who can speak and write Chinese,” she said.
The business has stepped up: In the past year, she’s handled six such cases, much more than in previous years. Jeang, 36, earns roughly $5,000 for each case and is one of only a few attorneys in this specialty.
It can be a tricky business. One condition for most surrogacy contracts is a doctor’s note stating that the woman seeking a surrogate mother cannot carry a child herself or is at high risk of health complications if she were to attempt to do so.
“I don’t know if the medical history is always accurate,” Jeang acknowledged.
There are other problems: Last year, authorities shut down several “maternity hotels” in the San Gabriel Valley over alleged code violations.
Jeang said she proceeds undaunted.
“I like helping people having problems having children,” she said.
– Howard Fine
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