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Surrogacy Law

Is Surrogacy a Legal Form of Reproduction?

A surrogacy case manager smiles as she helps two intended parents fill out paperwork.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice and should not be used in lieu of speaking with an attorney about surrogacy law. This is purely a perspective based on our own research. Please also note that surrogacy laws are subject to change. If you have questions about the most current surrogacy laws, we encourage you to contact us.

If you are an intended parent just starting your research into gestational surrogacy, you might feel overwhelmed and probably a bit confused—and that’s perfectly normal. Misinformation regarding gestational surrogacy is unfortunately very common. Many intended parents find themselves wondering if surrogacy a legal form of reproduction. 

While the long answer is more complicated, the short answer is that gestational surrogacy is legal in many countries and U.S. states, but not all. Read on to learn more about where gestational surrogacy is legal and what you might expect from the legal process.

Surrogacy Terminology: The Basics

In the U.S., there is no federal law that speaks to gestational surrogacy, so each state has been tasked with creating its own legislation. That’s what makes research complicated for intended parents: Laws are written with varying language that makes the process unique from state to state. Therefore, we encourage you to study the following commonly used terms before beginning your research. This may help you better understand the laws.

The People Involved in Surrogacy

  • Intended Parent – The individual or individuals who are to be the legal parent of the child
  • Gestational Surrogate – A woman who carries a child without any genetic connection for intended parents
  • Traditional Surrogate – A woman who carries a child with whom she shares a genetic connection for intended parents (California Surrogacy Center does NOT offer traditional surrogacy.)
  • Surrogacy Facilitator – The person or center helping surrogate mothers and intended parents connect and move through the process of gestational surrogacy 

The Paperwork Involved in Surrogacy 

  • Gestational Carrier Agreement – The document that spells out the rights and responsibilities of gestational surrogates and intended parents
  • Fund Management Agreement – The document that deals with financial aspects of the relationship between gestational surrogates and intended parents
  • Pre-Birth Order – A legal document completed before the gestational surrogate gives birth that establishes the intended parents as the legal parents of the child
  • Post-Birth Order – A legal document completed after the gestational surrogate gives birth that establishes the intended parents as the legal parents of the child

The most surrogacy-friendly states use explicit language in their laws to help ensure that intended parents and surrogate mothers are afforded the necessary legal protections, without discrimination. States that offer pre-birth orders are typically favored, as this allows the intended parents to establish legal rights to the child before it’s born.

Locations with Surrogacy-Friendly Laws

Surrogacy is legal in many states, and in many countries, around the world. California, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington are often considered to be among the most surrogacy-friendly states in the United States. Michigan and New York are known for being particularly difficult when it comes to surrogacy agreements. Most other states permit gestational surrogacy in some form but may be more restrictive in terms of who can participate and when the intended parents’ legal parental rights can be established.

There are also some countries that permit international intended parents to make gestational surrogacy arrangements with their citizens. Examples include Canada, Georgia, Greece, the Netherlands, Russia, and Ukraine. And, with new developments in the field of fertility medicine coming regularly, many states and countries that don’t allow this practice now are beginning to reconsider their positions.

Start Your Surrogacy Journey Today

If you are considering using gestational surrogacy, it is important to understand what the laws are in your region. Wherever you may be located, we encourage you to contact California Surrogacy Center using the form below to learn more about how we can help you expand your family.

Request a Free Surrogacy ConsultationGet Started Today!