Becoming a Surrogate - The legality of surrogacy in America

Quite often when people think of surrogacy, they think of traditional surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is when a woman uses her own egg and is fertilized by the Intended Father through artificial insemination. The surrogate is biologically related to the child she is carrying and, in most states, has parental rights toward the child. Due to the legal complications that can evolve from traditional surrogacy most agencies will only match gestational surrogates.

Gestational surrogates carry a child unrelated to her. The embryo can be made from the egg and sperm of the Intended Parents, an egg donor and the sperm of the Intended Father, or an egg donor and a sperm donor. The surrogate's parental rights vary from state to state but are significantly less than that of a traditional surrogate. Occasionally, depending on the laws in the state where the child is born, the Intended Parents' names can even be put on the birth certificate.

In most states a traditional surrogate has parental rights to the child and there is a time period in which she can change her mind. In most states that right is not afforded to a gestational surrogate.

Every state in America has different laws regarding surrogacy and who can make use of a surrogate's services. The good news is that the state in which you live is irrelevant. The relevant laws are the laws in the state where your child will be born. Many couples from surrogate unfriendly states are worried that they are breaking the law by hiring a surrogate from another state. Think of it this way; if your neighboring state does not have sales tax so you go across state lines to purchase an item in order to not pay sales tax and bring that item back home you have not broken any laws. This is the case with surrogacy. One of the many factors when choosing a surrogate is the state that she lives in.

Surrogate friendly states are states that have legalized surrogacy. Other states are surrogacy neutral which means that surrogacy has not been challenged in the court system in that state and while surrogacy is legal there is not any legal precedent to say how that state's legal system would rule if an issue was brought before the court. Some states have legalized surrogacy but only under certain conditions. It is best to speak to an agency, like GSMoms, about your individual situation so they can best help you decide what state would best meet your needs. GSMoms works with reproductive attorneys all across the country and can recommend one that specializes in reproductive law in the state where you surrogate lives.

Gestational Surrogate Moms, Inc. (GSMoms) is a full-service surrogacy and egg donor agency that focuses on keeping the most significant decision in life - that of starting a family - a personal experience. Whether you are an intended parent, surrogate, egg donor, clinical partner and/or sister agency, you will always feel our level of commitment. Our GSMoms family will work you through this process, and treat you with the care you deserve during such a critical time in your lives. 

We are a global company with our main offices located in Sacramento, California, and Champaign, Illinois. We also have a satellite office in Pasadena, California; and work with partners and other agencies located throughout the world, including Tel Aviv, Israel, and Shenzhen, China.