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Wisconsin Surrogacy Law Overview

The Center for Surrogate Parenting walks you through Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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?

      Case law expressly permits traditional surrogacy and in practice, implicitly permits gestational surrogacy. The court ruled that surrogacy contracts are enforceable if the contract is not contrary to the child’s best interest and there are no applicable contract defenses such as fraud, duress or misrepresentation. Thus, surrogacy is a legal and accepted practice in Wisconsin.

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

      Case law permits surrogacy. One case dealt specifically with a traditional surrogacy arrangement, but the court’s holding has been applied to upholding gestational surrogacy arrangements as well.

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

      Even though results may vary by county and judge, Wisconsin courts are typically favorable towards surrogacy arrangements.

    • Is commercial surrogacy legal?

      Commercial surrogacy is legal in Wisconsin 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?

      Yes, it is expressly permitted by Wisconsin published case law.

    • Is gestational surrogacy allowed?

      Yes, Wisconsin courts have used the published case decision to uphold the validity and enforcement of gestational surrogacy arrangements.

    • What are the requirements for an enforceable surrogacy contract?

      Since Wisconsin 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 meet specific requirements and have independent counsel. The agreement should include provisions that discuss the legal, financial, and contractual rights, expectations, penalties and obligations of the surrogacy agreement.

    • Can both intended parents be declared the legal parents?

      This varies significantly by county (and sometimes can vary by judge), but the one circumstance in which it is clear that both parents can be declared the legal parents in a pre-birth order is when they are a married heterosexual couple who used their own eggs and sperm.

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

      Pre-birth parentage orders can be obtained in certain counties and in certain situations, but post-birth orders are also required. Wisconsin only considers pre-birth orders to be “interim” interlocutory orders, which require a final court order after the child’s birth.

      Pre-birth parentage orders are available in certain situations in Wisconsin, but results vary greatly by judge and county. A pre-birth order is only certain to be granted when the intended parents are a married heterosexual couple who are both genetically related to the child or when it is a single parent who is genetically related to the child. In all other situations and circumstances, a parentage order is likely to be granted, but not certain.

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

      It is unknown.

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

      Parents usually receive the birth certificate within 4-14 days of the baby’s birth. Same-sex parents are named as Parent 1 and Parent 2.

      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?

      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. Since the circumstances in which a parentage order will be granted varies significantly in Wisconsin by county, the situations in which a post-birth adoption would be necessary will also vary. However, only married parents can file for adoption in Wisconsin because the state only allows for stepparent adoptions and does not permit second parent adoptions.

    • Are second-parent adoptions permitted?

      Second-parent adoptions are not permitted in Wisconsin, so unmarried parents will be required to pursue a second-parent adoption outside the state in order to secure his or her legal parental rights.

    • 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.