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South Carolina Surrogacy Law Overview

The Center for Surrogate Parenting walks you through South Carolina 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 South Carolina surrogacy law. In fact, the Center for Surrogate Parenting (CSP) has completed several 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 South Carolina 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 prohibiting surrogacy, but South Carolina does have published case law indicating surrogacy is permissible in the state. In the published case, the judge determined the intent of the parties by evaluating the terms of the gestational surrogacy contract, thus upholding the validity of such agreements. Therefore, properly drafted surrogacy contracts are typically enforceable in South Carolina.

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

      Case law suggests gestational surrogacy contracts are permissible and enforceable.

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

      South Carolina courts are typically favorable towards surrogacy arrangements.

    • Is commercial surrogacy legal?

      Commercial surrogacy is legal in South Carolina 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 South Carolina that expressly prohibit traditional surrogacy, it is technically a legal and permissible practice in the state. 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. In addition, compensated traditional surrogacy arrangements may be found illegal by a South Carolina court of law if the agreement provides for compensation beyond the cost of actual medical expenses or reasonable living expenses.

    • Is gestational surrogacy allowed?


    • What are the requirements for an enforceable surrogacy contract?

      Since South Carolina 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 be advised to articulate their intentions, desires, roles and responsibilities as clearly and specifically as possible in order to provide proper framework for dispute resolution should an issue arise.

      Generally, the intended parents and surrogate must have independent legal counsel and meet specific requirements. The agreement should also 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?

      Typically, pre-birth parentage orders can be obtained by most intended parents, whether married or unmarried, and even if neither parent is genetically related to the child. Results may vary by county and judge with pre-birth petitions filed by same-sex couples.

    • Can both intended parents be declared the legal parents?

      Yes, if at least one intended parent is genetically related to the child, and the parents are a heterosexual married or unmarried couple. However, if the parents are a same-sex couple, then only the genetically related parent will be named on a pre-birth order, thereby requiring a two-step process in which the non-genetic parent will be required to obtain a second-parent adoption before they may be named on an amended birth certificate.

      If neither intended parent is genetically related to the child, then it varies by court. It is likely that both parents may be named the legal parents in a pre-birth order, especially if they are a married heterosexual couple, but 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 within 2-4 weeks. Same-sex parents will be named Mother and Father.

      International gay couples can obtain an initial birth certificate that names the biological father and surrogate only. They can subsequently obtain a birth certificate that names only the biological father or both fathers, with no mention of the surrogate, but the non-genetic intended father will only be named after a second parent adoption has been completed.

    • Are post-birth adoptions permitted?

      Intended parents who are unable to obtain a parentage order will be required to complete a post-birth adoption in order to obtain and secure their legal parental rights. When a post-birth adoption will be necessary will vary based on the judge and county.

    • 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.