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Pennsylvania Surrogacy Law Overview

The Center for Surrogate Parenting walks you through Pennsylvania surrogacy law

Surrogacy is a beautiful family-building method. However, it can be complex, especially when it comes to the laws surrounding it. Thankfully, our experienced surrogacy agency is well-versed in the surrogacy laws of each state, including Pennsylvania surrogacy law. In fact, the Center for Surrogate Parenting (CSP) has completed over 50 finalizations of parental rights in this state.

As the oldest surrogacy agency in the world, we have helped U.S. and international parents to welcome healthy babies with help from U.S. surrogates. We are proud to say that we have never experienced issues with intended parents being able to bring their babies home.

To help you learn more about Pennsylvania surrogacy law and how to create a surrogacy contract, we’ve included some basic information below. You can also contact us for more information.

    • Is a surrogacy contract valid and enforceable?

      There are no statutes or published case law specifically permitting or prohibiting surrogacy. Thus, surrogacy is not illegal and is thereby an accepted practice in Pennsylvania.

    • Does the state have surrogacy laws and/or case law?

      There are no statutes or published case law specifically permitting or prohibiting surrogacy, but there is unpublished case law that permits surrogacy.

    • Are the courts typically favorable or unfavorable towards surrogacy arrangements?

      Pennsylvania courts are typically favorable towards surrogacy arrangements.

    • Is commercial surrogacy legal?

      Commercial surrogacy is legal in Pennsylvania and the intended parents are permitted to compensate the surrogate for her time and expenses. Such compensation is typically arranged for in a surrogacy contract.

    • Is traditional surrogacy permitted?

      Since there are no laws in Pennsylvania that expressly prohibit traditional surrogacy, it is technically not illegal. However, traditional surrogacy is treated like an adoption in the state and requires parentage to be established pursuant to adoption proceedings rather than through a parentage order, meaning that pre-birth orders are not available in such cases. In addition, compensated traditional surrogacy arrangements have been prohibited in past cases so there is some support for the notion that such contracts may be found unenforceable if challenged in a Pennsylvania court of law.

    • Is gestational surrogacy allowed?


    • What are the requirements for an enforceable surrogacy contract?

      Since Pennsylvania does not have a statutory rule on this, there is not a specific set of guidelines for when a judge may uphold the validity of a surrogacy arrangement. Parties should articulate their intentions, desires, roles and responsibilities as clearly and specifically as possible to provide proper framework for dispute resolution should an issue arise.

      Generally, the intended parents and surrogate should have independent legal counsel, the surrogate should meet specific requirements, and the agreement should include provisions that discuss the legal, financial and contractual rights, expectations, penalties and obligations of the surrogacy agreement.

    • Are pre-birth and post-birth orders permitted?

      It is possible to obtain a pre-birth order in certain counties, and in certain scenarios, but results vary substantially by county and by judge.

    • Can both intended parents be declared the legal parents?

      Yes, it is possible that both intended parents will be declared the legal parents in a pre-birth order or otherwise, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, the use of sperm or egg donation, or the genetic relationship to the child. However, the results can vary greatly by county and judge, so while this is possible, it is not certain.

    • Will the state honor a pre-birth order issued by another state?


    • What do intended parents need to know about getting the baby’s birth certificate?

      The intended parents will receive the birth certificate in 2-6 weeks, but it can happen in 3-10 days if expedited with a pre-birth order. Same-sex parents will be listed as Mother-Parent, Father-Parent, Mother or Father.

      International gay couples can obtain an initial birth certificate that names the biological father and gestational carrier. They can obtain an initial birth certificate that names the biological father only. They can subsequently obtain a birth certificate that names both fathers only, with no mention of the surrogate.

    • Are post-birth adoptions permitted?

      Intended parents who are unable to obtain a parentage order will be required to complete a post-birth adoption to obtain and secure their legal parental rights. The state permits both second parent and stepparent adoptions.

    • Are second-parent adoptions permitted?

      Yes, and they are available to unmarried couples.

    • Are stepparent adoptions permitted?

      Yes, and they are available to married couples.

VorzimerMasserman Disclaimer: This is a summary for informational use only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. Please note that the state laws regarding surrogacy frequently change and vary from county to county. The attorneys of VorzimerMasserman are only licensed in California. VorzimerMasserman shall not be responsible for any liability associated with this list.