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Surrogacy Legislation in Different States

The surrogacy industry is relatively new, and legislation continues to develop around state-specific surrogacy laws. Most recently, Washington and New Jersey became the latest states to adopt commercial surrogacy laws. In other cases, New York has seen major contention in attempting to pass surrogacy legislation. Surrogacy legislation is heavily scrutinized, and in New York’s case, the bill was opposed by expert doctors and academics. The bill was determined to not adequately provide for surrogate rights and health.

The introduction of gestational surrogacy with the first IVF baby born in 1978 proved a major step in the development of solutions to global infertility. For intended parents who struggle with infertility, the potential of being able to become a parent through gestational surrogacy is a promising option. In other cases, same-sex intended parents are also looking to add to their familiy.

In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate will carry a non-genetically related embryo through gestation to term. Since the embryo is not related to the surrogate, the intended parents have legal ownership of the genetic material. In the United States, commercial gestational surrogacy is typically the only option available.

It’s only relatively recently that surrogacy laws have begun to develop, making the expansion of commercial surrogacy legislation complicated. The complexity of surrogacy legislation can make finding resources and support in reaching a surrogacy agreement or finding a surrogate at all incredibly difficult.

The states considered to be the most surrogacy-friendly include:
  • Arkansas

  • California

  • Illinois

  • Maryland

  • New Hampshire

  • New Jersey

  • Oregon

  • Washington

Every state’s jurisdiction differs. Where some states are very surrogacy-friendly, others may not accept same-sex parent surrogates, or have other restrictive laws surrounding surrogacy agreements.

Surrogacy is permitted in 47 states, but the laws can differ throughout. Below we’ve compiled some of the most populated states’ approach to surrogacy law:

Surrogacy Laws in Different States

California: California Family Law Sections 7960-7962, Johnson v. Calvert (1993), and Buzzanca v. Buzzanca (1998) all permit surrogacy and assisted reproduction agreements for gestational carriers.

Texas: Tex. Fam. Code 160-751 through 160-763 permits surrogacy and pre-birth parentage orders can be obtained.

Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania’s case, pre-birth orders can be obtained in specific counties and situations. While unpublished case law permits surrogacy (J.F. v. D.B., 897 A.2d 1261 (2006)), there are no statutes or published case law related to specific permissions or prohibitions surrounding surrogacy.

Michigan: The Michigan Surrogate Parenting Act MCL Section 722.851, does not recognize surrogacy contracts as prohibited. But courts may still grant pre-birth orders for agreements without financial compensation.

With the state differences in mind, the legislation can even vary in different specific areas of the state. Some states have laws that specifically permit surrogacy or pre-birth parentage orders, or others do not have laws that prohibit or permit surrogacy. Read more about the specifics of surrogacy rights and legal framework.

Do you know about your out-of-state options?

It’s clear that surrogacy laws vastly differ from state to state. However, even if your state is restrictive about gestational surrogacy, there are still options out there!

Surrogacy Legislation

Oregon is a central hub for intended parents seeking surrogacy options and potential surrogates looking to provide that gift for a seeking couple. Oregon provides support for same-sex parents, while others states give preference to heterosexual couples.

Apart from specific differences within the United States, across the world, the globalization of gestational surrogacy has seen a vast development within different countries as well. In fact, we have assisted a number of international clients throughout their surrogacy process. Read Kfir and Yaniv’s story.

No matter where you live, a good surrogacy agency will assist you in creating the life and family you desire. Get in touch and we can guide you along the way.

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