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Rhode Island Surrogacy Law Overview

The Center for Surrogate Parenting walks you through Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island surrogacy law.

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 Rhode Island 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. However, surrogacy is an accepted practice in Rhode Island and there is a degree of predictability in dealing with surrogacy cases because all surrogacy petitions are heard by the Chief Judge of Family Court in Providence.

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


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

      Rhode Island courts are typically favorable towards surrogacy arrangements.

    • Is commercial surrogacy legal?

      Commercial surrogacy is legal in Rhode Island 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?

      It is unclear. Since there are no laws in Rhode Island that expressly prohibit traditional surrogacy, it is technically not illegal. However, traditional surrogacy is often treated like an adoption, and requires that the surrogate wait at least 15 days after the child’s birth before she can terminate her parental rights and provide her consent to the adoption. 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 Rhode Island court.

    • Is gestational surrogacy allowed?


    • What are the requirements for an enforceable surrogacy contract?

      Since Rhode Island 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?

      Pre-birth parentage orders can readily be obtained by any intended parent, regardless of sexual orientation, marital status or genetic relationship to the child.

    • Can both intended parents be declared the legal parents?

      Yes, both intended parents can 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.

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

      It is unclear. This has yet to be requested of Rhode Island Vital Records, so it is unclear whether an out-of-state parentage order will be honored.

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

      The intended parents will receive the birth certificate 3-5 days after delivery. Same-sex parents will be named as Parent and Parent.

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

    • Are post-birth adoptions permitted?

      Second parent and stepparent adoptions are permitted, but they are usually unnecessary in surrogacy arrangements due to the high availability of pre-birth parentage orders in the state.

    • 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.