Bringing a new life into the world is one of the most fulfilling experiences in the world, and though a surrogacy journey may be complicated, the experience of building a family is no less magical when you include the help of a surrogate.
If you’re considering starting a family through surrogacy, you’ll have loads of questions. Amongst the most important of those questions are regarding the legal aspects of the surrogacy process.
Although surrogacy has come a long way in recent years, it still doesn’t have the green light in every U.S. state. There are no Federal laws regulating surrogacy in the United States. What’s more, the laws regarding surrogacy vary widely between states, making the legal process quite confusing.
But that’s okay because many states are “surrogacy-friendly,” meaning that they have laws permitting surrogacy, and agencies can legally carry out the surrogacy process. These states recognize and permit gestational surrogacy arrangements and generally have favorable rulings in surrogacy cases.
In a surrogacy-friendly state, there’s no discrimination for who can become an Intended Parent. Pre-birth orders are generally granted regardless of marital status or sexual orientation. Both compensated and uncompensated agreements are possible.
Knowing which laws affect you is an essential part of your surrogacy journey, but no matter in which state or country you reside, Family Source can help you retain an experienced attorney to guide you through the legal process.
Let’s take a look at a few surrogacy-friendly states and their laws.
California Surrogacy Laws
California is one of the most’ surrogacy friendly’ states in the U.S. California laws allow anyone to become an Intended Parent whether they’re gay, straight, in a relationship, or single. These laws are outlined in the California Family Code Section 7960, officially confirmed in 2013.
Surrogate compensation is permitted, and the legal processes are the same for opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples, and single intended parents.
Illinois Surrogacy Laws
Like California, Illinois welcomes surrogacy. Commercial surrogacy is legal and clearly defined within Illinois surrogacy laws. The Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act permits a birth certificate to be issued in the names of the intended parents as long as certifications are completed by all relevant parties.
Washington State Surrogacy Laws
Washington’s Uniform Parentage Act took effect on Jan 1, 2019. The Act legalizes compensated gestational surrogacy and provides Intended Parents and gestational surrogates greater clarity in the legal parentage process. It also safeguards the rights of LGBTQ and non-biological parents and allows compensation beyond medical and other expenses for surrogate mothers.
Florida Surrogacy Laws
Florida’s surrogacy-friendly laws make it one of the most popular states for surrogacy arrangements. Florida Statute §63.213 protects the rights of the surrogate, the Intended Parents, the baby, and the egg donor. Contracts for gestational surrogacy arrangements are recognized along with egg and sperm donations.
Florida’s laws have also followed technological advances in third-party reproduction technology.
Massachusetts Surrogacy Laws
Massachusetts has long been known for its progressive stance on surrogacy. In fact, it was one of the first states to recognize surrogacy through court decision.
In Massachusetts, surrogacy is permitted by case law Hodas v. Morin, Culliton v. Beth Israel Deaconess Med. Ctr., and R.R. v. M.H.. Pre-birth orders can be issued, and the process is the same for all intended parents, regardless of sexual orientation.
Wisconsin Surrogacy Laws
Surrogacy is legal in Wisconsin as per the 2013 case Paternity of F.T.R. This has since allowed surrogacy contracts to be upheld as long as they are in the child’s best interests. Although there are no surrogacy laws that specifically address compensation for surrogates, these details will be outlined in your surrogacy contract.
Ohio Surrogacy Laws
The Ohio Supreme Court confirmed the legality of surrogacy in 2007 through J.F.v.D.B.,879N.E.2d740. Although there are no surrogacy laws in Ohio that specifically address the surrogacy process, courts and judges in the state have determined that surrogacy is legal in Ohio as per recognition of past cases.
The 2001 Decker v. Decker case allowed for same-sex couples to receive legal recognition in surrogacy agreements, as long as written agreements are provided. Same-sex intended parents can also have both parents named on the child’s birth certificate.
What’s the first step toward becoming a parent through surrogacy?
Although very few states have statutes that actually prohibit surrogacy, it’s certainly easier to embark on your surrogacy journey in the states mentioned above.
Remember, whether you live in a surrogacy-friendly or not, it’s still important to seek legal advice. An experienced reproductive attorney is the best person to guide you through the legalities of pursuing a surrogacy agreement as it relates to your particular state. Enlisting the services of a qualified surrogacy lawyer is the only way to ensure protection both for intended parents and prospective surrogates during the process.
If you’re considering using a gestational surrogate, choosing a professional surrogacy agency like Family Source Consultants is one of the best ways to ensure a successful journey. Our team will help you find out the current surrogacy laws in your particular state and refer you to a reputable collaborative reproduction attorney for professional legal counsel. Relying on the guidance of skilled professionals will take a huge amount of stress off your shoulders and allow you to focus on building your family.
The best part is that most FSC’s staff have personal experience via surrogacy, egg donation, or IVF. Our team fully understands the significance of creating a family through reproductive medicine and is excited to guide you through your journey to parenthood through surrogacy!