Learn about the legal considerations of surrogacy

When you commence the surrogate journey you'll want to place your energy and focus as much as possible on the health and birth of your baby. We try to provide you with all necessary education so that you don't have to waste precious time learning the ins and outs of the reproductive law industry. CSP and our team of attorneys can always speak to you more specifically and in depth if you have additional questions, but we love to provide surrogates and intended parents with the basics they need to know.

Surrogacy Law 101

Most of the 50 states in the United States permit surrogacy. To understand surrogacy laws in the US, it is important to understand the foundation of our legal system.

The US has a two-tier legal system, which includes federal law and state law. Surrogacy falls under family law, which is at the state level. This is why we have 50 different surrogacy laws in the country. Each state is empowered to create its own surrogacy laws.

People travel from all over the world to find a surrogate in the US. In some other countries, surrogacy may not be legal for certain people, or it may not be allowed at all.

CSP is happy to match our US surrogates with individuals and couples of all nationalities and sexual orientations. We help with the legal process to ensure that all babies born in the US are able to travel to their home countries with their parents.

We welcome you to contact us regarding questions about surrogacy laws that may or may not exist in your state. Please keep in mind that in a surrogacy arrangement, it is important for both the parents and the surrogate to have independent legal counsel.

  • Legal Aspects by Program: IVF & IVF/ED

    When pursuing a surrogacy arrangement, Intended Parents should consider various factors which might have a legal impact upon them here in the United States and/or in their home country. In the United States, consideration should be given to the parents’ sexual orientation, genetic relation to the embryos to be implanted, the surrogate’s marital status, and other factors which may impact how the courts in the United States will recognize the Intended Parents. Overseas, international Intended Parents should consult with trusted local counsel to discuss the same and how their home country will view them in relation to the child.

    Depending on the facts, the parents might require an initial birth certificate listing a father and the Surrogate on the birth certificate, or might require a post-birth adoption to terminate any presumption of the Gestational Carrier’s parentage in the eyes of that foreign nation. Additionally, international Intended Parents should consider how/if their child’s ability to inherit from them is affected by the surrogacy process and the view their country takes of their parental roles.

  • Surrogacy Contracts

    The surrogacy contract is the document which dictates the relationship between the Surrogate, her husband/partner if any, and the Intended Parents. It addresses important legal issues such as identifying the parties, the genetic makeup of the embryos to be used, responsibility for medical expenses of the Gestational Carrier and of the baby, the fact that the parties are represented by legal counsel, declaration of the parties’ intent with respect to parentage and custody, and how the various expenses anticipated by a surrogacy arrangement shall be paid.

    The agreement will also address important social issues such as medical testing, psychological evaluation of the parties, criminal history of the parties, a desire to enter into the agreement, and various behavioral guidelines for the Gestational Carrier to follow such as avoiding physically dangerous behavior, limiting sexual contact for various periods of time, and following her treating physician’s orders. A well-thought-out surrogacy agreement should be all encompassing and should be thoroughly discussed between each party and their respective attorney. The agreements are negotiated between the attorneys and when ultimate terms are agreed upon, the parties execute a final version of the same and are then ready to proceed with the medical process

  • Finalization of Parental Rights

    When the Gestational Carrier is confirmed pregnant, the pregnancy’s progress is tracked by the Reproductive Endocrinologist for approximately the first ten to twelve weeks before the Surrogate graduates to her Obstetrician’s care. Around completion of the first trimester of pregnancy, the Parties will be referred back to legal counsel to commence the parentage process of finalizing the Intended Parents’ parental rights.

    Parentage proceedings will typically be filed in the Surrogate’s state and local counsel in such state will be required. Such attorney will prepare the necessary court documents which include, among other documents, declarations from the Intended Parents, the Gestational Carrier, her husband/partner if any, the fertility physician, and each attorney.

    Upon completion of such documents, the attorney will file the same with the appropriate court and seek the judge’s approval on the proposed parentage order. Depending on the particular state and the particular set of facts this might be completed before birth of the child, or require a post-birth process to complete the order.

  • Birth Certificate and Passport

    Once the parentage order is complete, a certified copy of the court’s order is then provided to the delivery hospital’s birth clerk along with a letter of explanation regarding the surrogacy arrangement. Once the baby is born, the delivery hospital’s birth clerk will assist the parents in completing forms for baby’s birth certificate pursuant to the court order.

    The birth clerk delivers the forms to the Department of Vital Records, which will then process and prepare the birth certificate accordingly. International Intended Parents can then obtain the baby’s passport, which can be expedited by use of a passport expediting service, or by demonstration to the passport office that an international flight is scheduled within a few days of visiting the passport office.