Please review our guide to understand if surrogacy is legal in your state.
Surrogacy law in the United States
Please review our US surrogacy law map to understand if surrogacy is legal in your state.
Check below and contact IMA ART
US Surrogacy Law Map: What you need to know
The surrogacy journey can be complex and confusing, especially because every single process must align with the surrogacy laws set by each state. With no Federal laws guiding surrogacy in the United States, some states have come up with laws which allow for different surrogacy processes, arrangements and parental rights.
In surrogacy-friendly states, the law favors surrogacy and grants pre-birth orders to individuals and intended parents. This means that the intended parents are declared the legal parents of the unborn child.
Before making surrogacy arrangements, your fertility and surrogacy agency and attorney will walk you through understanding these laws so you are protected from any legal issues that may arise. Read more about Reproductive Law here.
Surrogacy is Legal in these States for all.
California, where IMA ART is located, is the most surrogacy-friendly state in the country, for both heterosexual and same-sex couples as well as individuals. Parentage orders can be acquired both before (pre-birth order) and after the birth (post-birth order) regardless of the marital status or sexual orientation of the intended parent(s).
Under the Colorado Surrogacy Agreement Act, which passed in 2021, surrogacy is legally protected in the Centennial State. Surrogacy agreements are legal and enforceable, and the courts will approve pre-birth orders.
Connecticut surrogacy law permits gestational surrogacy and allows for the intended parent(s) to be listed as the child’s lawful parents on the birth certificate, regardless of whether they are an unmarried or married couple, heterosexual, or same-sex. However, Connecticut does not allow pre-birth orders in the case of traditional surrogacy, as statutes favor post-birth adoptions after a waiting period.
District of Columbia (DC)
Idaho House Bill 264 went into effect on July 1, 2023, clearing a major obstacle for intended parents. The bill removed the obligation for intended parents to go through the adoption process for children carried by a surrogate.
Idaho has long been a hub for surrogacy, but before the new Gestational Agreements Act established judicial and legislative oversight, pre-birth orders were not allowed, only post-birth parentage orders. If at least one of the intended parents contributed their gamete, they could apply for stepparent adoption. But if neither intended parent was genetically related to the child, they would have to fully adopt the child. Today, that legal red tape is gone, making Idaho a truly surrogacy-friendly state.
Before Jan. 1, 2019, commercial surrogacy was frowned upon in Washington, but with the amended statutes, compensation of a gestational surrogate mother is allowed as well as a pre-birth order to the intended parent(s). However, gestational surrogacy agreements have to adhere to the amended statutory law.
According to chapter 61 of Maine’s Parentage Act, enacted in 2016, surrogacy and pre-birth parentage orders are authorized as long as you meet the state eligibility criteria.
New Hampshire (NH)
New Hampshire surrogacy law allows pre-birth parentage orders regardless of the intended parent’s marital status or genetic relationship.
New Jersey (NJ)
A surrogacy act that took effect in 2018 has made gestational surrogacy agreements enforceable in New Jersey. However, surrogates do not receive a base payment and can only receive compensation to cover reasonable expenses. These include medical fees, attorney fees, living expenses like clothing and food, and counseling services (religious, psychological, and vocational) during the pregnancy and postpartum recovery.
Traditional surrogacy is allowed based on altruism and where there is no pre-birth parentage order.
Delaware’s statutory law, which came into effect in 2013, permits gestational surrogacy. Pre-birth parentage orders are granted to all intended parents regardless of their sexual orientation and marital status. The law allows for adoptions in cases where parentage orders were not obtained.
Surrogacy is Legal in these States, with certain controls.
NEW YORK (NY)**
NORTH CAROLINA (NC)
NORTH DAKOTA (ND)
NEW MEXICO (NM)
RHODE ISLAND (RI)
SOUTH CAROLINA (SC)
SOUTH DAKOTA (SD)
WEST VIRGINIA (WV)
*Iowa and Utah may have additional legal limitations.
**New York’s Child-Parent Security Act (CPSA) protects the legality of gestational surrogacy, but intended parents and surrogates who choose traditional surrogacy must then navigate the adoption process. Contact IMA ART.
In these states, the law favors surrogacy and grants pre-birth orders to individuals and intended parents. However, this is totally dependent on the state and other factors. Additional post-birth legal orders may be required in some states.
Surrogacy is practiced with potential legal obstacles. Exercise care in these States.
Despite the fact that surrogacy is allowed in these states, there may be legal obstacles to consider on your surrogacy journey:
Surrogacy contracts are legally unenforceable.
Although surrogacy contracts are illegal and unenforceable in Arizona, courts may issue a pre-birth order if a gamete from one of the intended parents was used for the child. However, the results can rest on the particular judge and county. Parents who are unable to receive a pre-birth order will need to complete an adoption order following the birth. The inability to enforce surrogacy contracts makes gestational surrogacy inadvisable in Arizona. Finding a surrogate outside of Arizona can circumvent this legal issue.
Although surrogacy isn’t technically illegal in Indiana, surrogacy contracts are void and unenforceable. However, some courts have started issuing pre-birth orders on the premise that neither sperm nor egg donor are used.
States where surrogacy is illegal.
Louisiana Surrogacy Bill HB 1102 took effect Aug. 1, 2016. It bans commercial surrogacy and limits gestational surrogacy to heterosexual couples who are married and are using both their sperm and egg. Any surrogacy agreement that is not compliant with the legislation could lead to civil and criminal punishment.
According to MCL Section 722.851, the Michigan Surrogate Parenting Act, surrogacy contracts are invalid and unenforceable and are against public policy. Courts may, however, grant pre-birth orders to intended parents if the surrogate was not compensated.
A single person or married couple may adopt a child after the child is born. However, the law does not allow adoptions between unmarried couples.
Surrogacy contracts in Nebraska are void and unenforceable, due to R.R.S. Neb. 25-21, 200. While the Nebraska statute does allow a post-birth order to be granted to the biological father, pre-birth orders are illegal. This means that all other intended parents must pursue post-birth adoption. State law allows stepparent adoptions but not second-parent adoptions.
To understand more about Surrogacy law in your State, please visit the Legal Professional Group, of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine or contact IMA ART.
Surrogacy Law FAQ
Can a foreign national pursue pregnancy through surrogacy in the United States?
State laws have made it possible for couples and individuals from all over the world to embark on their surrogacy journey in the US. Statutes in surrogacy-friendly states safeguard intended parents, surrogates and the child. All provisions have been made at IMA ART to ensure that you have a luxurious and stress-free experience.
Does a child born through surrogacy automatically receive US citizenship?
Every child born in the United States, whether traditionally or through a surrogate, is entitled to American citizenship. The only exception is children born to foreign diplomats while in the US. In those cases, the child retains the citizenship of the parents.
However, children born through surrogacy outside of the United States must be genetically or gestationally related to a US citizen for citizenship to transfer to the child. In addition, other statutory requirements must be met for the child to gain US citizenship at birth.
Does having a child in the US allow a foreign national to receive a Green Card?
No, birthright citizenship is given only to children born on US soil. However, at age 21 the child has the opportunity to submit an Alien Relative Petition, which potentially opens the door for their parent to obtain a Green Card.
Is IMA ART located in a surrogacy-friendly state?
Absolutely. One of the reasons IMA ART is located In California is because the intended parents' rights are protected by state law. This is important to us because we want couples and individuals on their surrogacy journey to focus on preparing for their child’s birth, and for surrogates to focus on pregnancy, without the fear of legal issues, poor outcomes or delays returning home.
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