Is Surrogacy Legal in All 50 States of the USA?
Interesting question: Is surrogacy legal in all 50 states of the USA? Different states in USA have different laws for this but let’s walk through this.
Surrogacy is defined as the process or arrangement where someone gets pregnant and delivers a child for another person. It is a complicated process that requires medical, legal, and psychological expertise. The woman that agrees to carry the child for someone else is referred to as the surrogate mother while the person or couple who eventually gets the child is called the intended parent or parents.
Why choose surrogacy?
Surrogacy allows couples who cannot or are unable to bear a child the option of growing a family. The people who might benefit from surrogacy include:
- Heterosexual couples who struggle with infertility
- Women who are past the age of childbearing but want to grow their family
- Couples who might have a heritable disease that they do not want to pass to their offspring
- Same-sex couples who desire to grow their family and have a genetic link with their children
What are the types of surrogacy?
There are many different ways to define surrogacy, some of the definitions include:
This is the type of surrogacy where a woman who is known as the surrogate carries and delivers a child for an individual or a couple who are referred to as the intended parent or parents. The surrogate carries an embryo that was fertilized by a donated egg and sperm. This means that the surrogate does not have any genetic relationship with the fetus.
This is the type of surrogacy where a woman known as the surrogate, agrees to carry and deliver a child for an individual or couple that is referred to as the intended parent or parent. The main difference between this and gestational surrogacy is that the surrogate carries her own egg which is fertilized by a donated sperm or sperm from the intended parent. This means that the surrogate has a genetic relationship with the fetus, and this relationship between the surrogate and the fetus often leads to unwanted emotional and legal issues. This has made traditional surrogacy to be banned in the USA and is no longer recognized as a form of surrogacy.
This is any surrogacy arrangement where the surrogate is compensated for her services beyond the covering of her medical expenses.
This is any surrogacy arrangement where the intended parents and the surrogate mother work with an agency that is licensed. This agency usually takes over the majority of the surrogacy journey for a set fee. They provide legal, medical, and sometimes even psychological and emotional services for both the intended parents and even the surrogate mother.
This can also be referred to as private surrogacy, it is the type of surrogacy arrangement where the intended parents and the surrogate work together without the involvement of any agency.
This is any surrogacy where the surrogate mother is not compensated for her services beyond the reimbursement of her medical expenses.
How much does surrogacy cost in the USA?
The cost of surrogacy is not definite, it varies depending on the particular surrogacy journey. In the USA however, an individual can spend around 110-180k dollars for a surrogacy journey, and this may not include the costs of all the processes required like in-vitro fertilization. The actual cost may vary depending on the services which may be added to the entire cost of the surrogacy for example if the intended parents would need an egg donor in addition to the surrogate mother. Also, the cost of surrogacy varies from state to state. In states like California, where there is a high demand for surrogacy, the cost may be slightly higher than the average cost. The legal requirements also vary from state to state. However, the cost of surrogacy does not actually differ greatly among the major metropolitan areas in the USA like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Is surrogacy legal in all the states in America?
The answer is no. Gestational surrogacy arrangements are not legal in all states in America. It is up to the particular state to determine the legality of any surrogacy arrangement that is going to be carried out in that state. This is why it is usually advised for intended parents to carry out research on the legality of the surrogacy process in their state before embarking on the surrogacy journey.
In California, surrogacy is legal and the state is seen as a highly surrogate-friendly state, this is due to the fact that the surrogacy process is allowed for all growing families (including single parents, same-sex couples, etc.). In summary, about 47 states in the USA recognize gestational surrogacy, and women from those states can apply to become surrogate mothers, these states might have peculiar laws guiding the entire process which the intended parents must abide by.
Three states in the USA do not recognize gestational surrogacy and it is illegal to have any surrogacy contracts in those states, these states are Nebraska, Michigan, and Louisiana, women in these states may not apply to become surrogates. However, intended parents can safely become parents no matter where they live, the laws governing the state where your surrogate lives and will give birth are the laws that are important and binding. The image below shows where surrogacy is legal in all 50 states of the USA.
How does one find out the legality of the surrogacy process for their state?
There is a lot of information about the particular surrogacy laws governing a state online, the intended parent or parents are advised to make extensive research. However, if they cannot, they can always contact surrogacy agencies for consultation.
What if the intended parent is in a state where surrogacy is illegal?
In the instance that surrogacy is not legal in the intended parent’s state of residence, they can often choose to work with a surrogate agency or mother that lives in a state that is more surrogate-friendly. There is no law preventing this from happening. This is why it is advised for intended parents to work with surrogate agencies, as they help who help in making the process less stressful and complicated for intended parents.