Congratulations! You’ve decided on working with a surrogate, or maybe you’ve decided that you want to become a surrogate mother. Either way, the first step is to acquire knowledge of your state laws that may or may not protect you in your new endeavor. In the US, each state has individual laws and regulations regarding surrogacy. From traditional to gestational, solely altruistic to compensated, the US stands divided when it comes to surrogacy provisions.

These regulations can essentially be broken into 5 groups: banned, voids and penalizes, prohibits some and allows others, allows but regulates, and no clear provisions.  In states in which surrogacy is banned, all forms of surrogacy are prohibited.  There are a few states in which traditional and/or gestational surrogacy is void and penalized; laws stating all forms of surrogacy agreements are prohibited, and civil and criminal penalties are imposed on people who enter into any type of surrogacy agreement as well as the people who facilitate them. Before becoming discouraged, please remember that where there’s a will, there’s a way! There are more states in the US that allow some sort of surrogacy agreement than those that do not. Several states prohibit some forms of surrogate agreements but permit others. For example, traditional surrogacy is prohibited in the majority of US states, however gestational surrogacy may still be an option. Also, there are states in which compensated surrogacy is prohibited but uncompensated surrogate agreements are permitted. In some states, the Intended Parents entering into a surrogate agreement must be heterosexual and married; alternatively there are states that recognize the LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, transgender) community and singles as having equal rights as heterosexuals in creating a family.

A quick look into surrogacy around the world… In Armenia, gestational surrogacy procedure requires that surrogate mothers undergo months of psychiatric and medical testing. The Armenian Reproductive Rights Law protects both the surrogate and the Intended Parent(s), in ensuring no post delivery complications or legal hassles. Unlike many European and Western countries, Armenian laws do not restrict surrogacy for gay, lesbian or single people, thus finding a gestational surrogate in Armenia is not only convenient but has become quite popular. India is another country that has become a hotspot for surrogacy despite allegations of poor housing conditions for surrogate mothers. The cost of the surrogate procedure can be up to 40% less than it would cost in the United States.  Ukraine and Russia have laws favorable to surrogacy, however, in the case of gestational surrogacy, a single person or unmarried couple would have to go through court for their child to be legally recognized as theirs. Canada allows both traditional and gestational surrogacy but compensated surrogacy is illegal. Under no circumstance can the surrogate profit financially. It is however legal for the Intended Parents to reimburse their surrogate mother for expenses such as prenatal vitamins and the cost of trips to the doctors. Intended Parents that do not follow these restrictions risk being penalized a fine of up to $50,000 or 10 years in prison.  Gestational surrogacy is prohibited in China, as it is believed by the Chinese government to involve many complicated legal, ethical and moral problems.

Whether you’re a potential intended parent or deciding if becoming a surrogate mother is right for you, it’s important to research the laws and regulations surrounding surrogate agreements in the state or country in which you reside. While surrogacy laws vary, and some provisions are not clear at all, options in finding the perfect surrogate arrangement are available for you. Generally stating, unless there is a clear civil or criminal prohibition against surrogate arrangements, an Assisted Reproductive Law Attorney can provide you with a solution to fulfill your desire to act as a surrogate, or to insure your name be listed on a birth certificate as the Legal and Intended Parent(s).

Disclaimer- Surrogacy seekers must check the status of surrogacy in their country and or state and consult the relatable authorities before taking any step.

by Julia McConnell | Last updated on : December 21, 2023