Learning how surrogacy laws work is a necessary step to protect you as you complete your surrogacy journey and grow your family.
To get more information about surrogacy laws in your state, click here to get connected to a surrogacy professional.
Currently, there are no federal laws regulating surrogacy in the U.S., which means surrogacy laws can vary depending on the state you live in. With the right surrogacy professional and legal counsel, you can have a safe and successful surrogacy experience.
What is Surrogacy Law?
Surrogacy law is a field of law that regulates the ability and process for women to carry pregnancies through IVF for hopeful parents.
Since surrogacy laws vary from state to state, it is best to get professional help to work out the details of surrogacy in your state.
In general, most state have legal steps of surrogacy that include:
- A surrogacy contract
- A pre-birth order
- Adoption or other post-birth legal procedures
Before the embryo transfer and pregnancy can begin, both the surrogate and intended parents will work with their own separate attorneys, who will help them create a contract that follows local surrogacy laws and negotiate the details of finances and social requirements.
The financial portion of a surrogacy contract can include items like:
- Base compensation for the surrogate
- Additional payments for things like maternity clothing and travel to medical appointments
- Added compensation plans for potential pregnancy circumstances, like going on bed rest or having multiples
The social portion of a surrogacy contract can include items like:
- An agreement for the surrogate to abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs
- Agreements about who will be present at prenatal medical appointments
- An agreement about who will be present at birth
- Plans for potential selective reductions or other pregnancy problems
These contracts are vital in cases of unexpected circumstances, so it is important to work with an attorney with experience to make sure you cover every possible outcome.
Working with a surrogacy agency can make this process easier, as they will likely have the legal contacts necessary for you to complete your surrogacy journey. The American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA) also offers a directory of surrogacy law experts and resources on surrogacy policy.
Once the embryo is implanted in the surrogate and it has resulted in a pregnancy, the next steps of the surrogacy process can begin.
The next legal steps depend state surrogacy laws in your state, but in many surrogacy-friendly states, you can expect intended parents will work with an attorney to draw up legal paperwork that establishes them as the baby’s official parents.
This paperwork is called a pre-birth order, and it allows the baby to be discharged from the hospital to the intended parents. It may include:
- Paperwork signed by the surrogate relinquishing any legal rights they have to the child once he or she is born
- Surrogacy-related social work documents, including evaluations of the intended parents and surrogate
- Paperwork from the IVF physician stating that the embryos were transferred to the surrogate
This paperwork is generally created and filed several months into the pregnancy. If it is filed before birth, generally at birth the surrogate mother and intended parents will sign the final paperwork at birth. This paperwork states the surrogate mother and her partner are not the legal parents of the child and the intended parents accept custody of the child.
Post-Birth Legal Processes
If your surrogacy uses donated sperm or eggs, a stepparent adoption, full adoption, or second-parent adoption may be required in some states. This is because the baby born via surrogacy will not be genetically related to one or both of the parents.
When an adoption is required, intended parents and surrogates must follow their state’s adoption laws—your attorney can help guide you through the legal adoption process based on your state’s laws.
Is Surrogacy Legal in the United States?
American surrogacy laws vary from state to state. In some states, surrogacy is legal and regulated, while in others, it is restricted or illegal. To find out more about surrogacy policy in your state and your best route to surrogacy, you can contact a surrogacy professional here.
Is it Legal to Pay for a Surrogate?
Surrogacy payments are legal in most states but illegal other states. To find out your state laws, it is best to connect with a surrogacy professional or a reproductive attorney.
Contact a Surrogacy Professional
You can get any other questions answered now by contacting a surrogacy professional.
Surrogacy professionals can help you navigate the necessary steps to complete the surrogacy process, and get the legal help you need to complete your surrogacy journey and grow your family.