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What Kinds of Laws Surround Surrogacy in the U.S.?

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Last Updated: Sep 24, 2020

Surrogacy is an incredible act of human generosity and kindness, and medical wonder can allow someone who can’t birth a child to have a child of their own still. It’s the top option for women with illnesses that might hurt them or the baby during pregnancy, or by same-sex couples who can’t create or carry a child of their own. As incredible as this process sounds on first look, there are many pitfalls and worries around it.

Here are the laws set up to protect parents, surrogates, and the children involved in this process.

Surrogacy Agreements

A surrogacy agreement is a legal contract binding the surrogate and the family wanting the child together in the court of law. This contract contains everything from how much the surrogate will be paid as a base fee and how much will be compensated to the surrogate for invasive surgeries and medical care that will be necessary throughout the pregnancy.

There should be writing to cover what will happen in multiples, how the birth will be completed (by c-section or natural childbirth), and where the delivery should occur. This contract has to cover nearly every point possible so that risks will already be resolved before they occur.

Legal Clearance Required By Doctors

This clearance is a document needed by the doctors who will implant the fertilized eggs into the surrogate. This documentation should include a clean bill of health for the egg donor and the surrogate. As simple as it is to get this clearance, it’s incredibly vital to the process.

If the surrogate doesn’t get checked and ends up having the polycystic ovarian syndrome, you could end up with a complication that could harm the child or the surrogate. Get everyone checked out before the surrogacy agreement is signed.

Guardianship Designation

Simple until the exact moment it isn’t, guardianship designation is vital to ensuring the surrogate or any other party doesn’t try to take the child after birth. This document protects the newborn’s parent or parents from losing their child and will help them if it comes to taking the case to court.

Most States Are Surrogacy Friendly

The divide on this seems to follow the lines of mostly red or blue states. This division means that most states that aren’t as enthusiastic about surrogacy, or family rights, are also very rough on issues like abortion or reproductive rights.

It’s best to research surrogacy law in your area to ensure you have the most up to date information and be ready to move forward with the next step.

Where You Can’t Surrogate

Although recent years have seen an uptick in states allowing people to go through with surrogacy, Michigan is still holding strong against it. Not only is surrogacy frowned upon, but families supporting the surrogate mothers could also financially end with everyone facing fees or even criminal charges.

Michigan does not offer pre-birth orders and won’t help the parents if the surrogate decides to keep the child. Michigan is not a state to live in if you want a surrogate.

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