Surrogacy lawyers -
The very best in reproductive legal protection
For many people entering the world of fertility services, the legal landscape can be intimidatingly complex. This is why we offer access to an expansive network of leading surrogacy attorneys at the forefront of reproductive law in the United States.
Protecting Your Rights as Parents
In most countries, surrogacy and fertility law (also known as reproductive law) is complicated at best. People looking to become parents with surrogacy services are often subjected to harsh restrictions, unregulated systems, and poor legal protection as parents, not to mention sub-standard medical protocols in assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Many countries also impose tight restrictions on who can use ART, limiting applicants to married heterosexual couples. This means loving same-sex couples, single women, or single men looking to start their own families are often left without options.
These are some of the reasons IMA ART decided to locate our home in Los Angeles County, California, where parents' rights are protected by state law and by precedent. California is the most surrogacy-friendly state in the United States, and pre- and post-birth orders are legal and enforceable. Regardless of the use of a sperm or egg donor, or the sexual orientation or marital status of the intended parent(s), their names can be on the birth certificate as legal parents. However, remember that a pre-birth order becomes effective only after birth.
Our network of specialists provide critical legal services at every stage of the surrogacy process. Intended parents can rest easy knowing that once their heir arrives, they won’t have to worry about legal issues, complications, or delays returning home.
Intended parents can rest easy knowing that once their heir arrives, they won’t have to worry about legal issues, complications, or delays returning home.
IMA ART’s unusual and unique journey to Beverly Hills, California
IMA ART Co-Founder Ron Sonnenberg devoted a significant amount of time (and several overseas trips) to research fertility treatments in various international destinations. The investigation and study covered medical capabilities, technology, and local laws that defined who can receive fertility treatments to meet their personal needs such as developing families and creating heirs.
After thorough research, Ron worked for International Medical Assistance Limited in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2015. Key countries for IVF treatments included the United States, Thailand, and Malaysia.
For prospective parents interested in surrogacy, Ron only arranged this in California — and other surrogate-friendly states — because the state's laws and case laws protect the parents. By 2018-19, Ron decided to focus his IVF and surrogacy efforts in California, United States of America. Not because he is a U.S. citizen but because California offers the safest, most reliable, and highest in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates in the world.
Reproductive clinics and hospitals in the industry report their IVF success rates annually to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unlike most other jurisdictions, information and assisted reproductive statistics are transparent in the U.S. Most interestingly, in the USA, IVF success is defined as giving birth to a single healthy child. In most of the rest of the world, success is only defined as testing positive for pregnancy!
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 shut down most parts of the world, including cross-border medical treatments in the assisted reproductive technology (ART) field. In 2022, Ron and IMA ART CEO and Co-Founder Michelle Tang decided to leave Hong Kong and move their business to Beverly Hills, California, with Michelle serving as the company's spokesperson and CEO.
Thanks to our national network of reproductive law attorneys, you won’t have to worry about unforeseen complications or delays, as you will be equipped with individualized legal advice while building a worthwhile attorney-client relationship.
Reproductive Laws and Policies
Depending on the country, assisted fertility technologies, such as IVF and egg donation procedures, are either restricted to specific clients or unregulated. For instance, some countries offering fertility treatment restrict services to married heterosexual couples, often only to those with recorded fertility problems. Additionally, the commercial availability of donor sperm or eggs is often tightly controlled, service providers are limited, and IVF is only available to a specific clientele.
Compare Reproductive Law Around the World
In Hong Kong, only legally married heterosexual couples can benefit from IVF and other forms of assisted reproductive technologies. And while the number of women undergoing IVF in Hong Kong has increased in past years, success rates for births have not. CEO and Co-Founder Michelle Tang personally underwent a failed IVF cycle and implantation in Hong Kong.
Additionally, commercial egg and sperm donation are not allowed. This means that you can’t buy an egg or sperm.
People seeking fertility services in Hong Kong may struggle with long waits for publicly funded IVF, high costs in the private sector, and ineligibility for IVF (as in the case of same-sex couples, unmarried couples, individuals, or surrogates).
Surrogacy is illegal in Hong Kong.
Numerous assisted fertility treatments are banned throughout China, including commercial egg or sperm donors, the use of surrogacy and related technologies, using sperm without an official certificate from the Human Sperm Bank, and egg freezing if you’re a single woman.
Additionally, human assisted reproduction technology is not allowed for couples or single women outside the scope of the national population and family planning regulations.
While Japan has some of the highest numbers in the world for women who undergo infertility treatments, it also has one of the lowest success rates. Additionally, only legally married, heterosexual couples can benefit from IVF. Their regulation does not allow single women and same-sex couples to use donor sperm from a third party.
Commercial surrogacy is forbidden in Japan.
When it comes to surrogacy, few countries — if any — have as much safety and legal protections for parents as the United States. Many are shocked to hear that the only countries in the world where commercial surrogacy is explicitly legal are the United States (on a state-by-state basis), Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. However, just because surrogacy arrangements are legal doesn’t mean they are well-regulated or without issues.
Compare Surrogacy Law Around the World
Russia and Ukraine
In Russia and Ukraine, gestational surrogacy is legal, but only under specific conditions. Couples must be heterosexual and have a recorded history of fertility issues.
In Russia, the only part of surrogacy contracts that’s enforceable is financial responsibility. This means that if the gestational carrier decides to keep the baby, the parents have no legal protection. In December 2022, the Russian parliament passed a bill that bans foreigners from using Russian surrogate mothers.
In Ukraine, tax regulations have led to varying qualities of reproductive health care and can make returning home with your child difficult. The conflict has added other huge challenges.
Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Mexico
In 2024, Georgia will no longer allow surrogacy arrangements for foreigners.
Although surrogacy has been legal in Georgia for heterosexual couples with fertility issues since 1997, there are very few regulatory systems in place. The lack of regulation often means surrogates receive poor-quality health care throughout their surrogacy journey. This can lead to high-risk pregnancies, birth defects, and low success rates.
The same goes for Kyrgyzstan, where surrogacy is legal but few protections and regulatory structures exist.
As for Mexico, some surrogacy agencies and clinics say that surrogacy is legal in the country, but in reality there is no legal framework or process for foreigners or same-sex couples to pursue surrogacy for family building. Therefore, Mexican courts do not enforce surrogacy agreements between foreign or same-sex intended parents and gestational surrogates. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates issued a warning about this in 2021.
Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia
Couples who consider low-cost options for surrogacy often don’t recognize the risks — until it’s too late. Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia have banned surrogacy, and offenders face criminal prosecution.
Laos has few surrogacy laws, leaving parents unprotected. Additionally, babies born in Laos must obtain a Laos birth certificate, which recognizes only the biological father and surrogate mother as the legal parents. This is true even if the surrogate is not biologically related to the baby, as with a gestational surrogate, versus traditional surrogacy.
“Our national network of lawyers on the cutting edge of reproductive law makes it so you won’t have to worry about unforeseen complications or delays. With IMA ART, you can trust that your legal rights are protected, and your privacy is ensured.”
IMA ART FOUNDER
Surrogacy Lawyers FAQ
In which states is paid surrogacy legal?
In surrogacy-friendly states, the law favors surrogacy, allowing surrogate compensation and granting pre- and post-birth parentage orders to intended parents and individuals. Surrogacy is legal for all in California (CA), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), District Of Columbia (DC), Idaho (ID), Maine (ME), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), Nevada (NV), Vermont (VT), and Washington (WA).
Here’s a full breakdown of states where surrogacy is legal, where it’s legal with certain controls, where it has legal obstacles, and where surrogacy is banned or contracts are legally unenforceable.
Does California state law allow intended parents whose gametes were used in gestational surrogacy to be listed as the biological parents of their child?
In California, legal parental rights can be enforced before a child is born with pre-birth orders. This document establishes the intended parent(s) as the legal parent(s) of the child before the surrogate gives birth, regardless of whether their gametes were used or an embryo donation was done.
IMA ART will provide you access to surrogacy lawyers who can assist you throughout the legal process of timely document preparation and signing to avoid unforeseen scenarios, such as a premature birth.