Are you considering surrogacy? Confused? No doubt, with good reason. Surrogacy around the globe has been a roller coaster ride over the past decade. With laws and rules changing daily, information on the Internet is a bit of a (pardon our French) cluster f@#&. When it comes to the massive financial and emotional investment of starting a family via surrogacy, do you really want to chance it to message boards and the experiences of Loverbear2398 from 2006? Ya. that’s a “No”.
Surrogacy is super geo-political. Location is everything. Where you live can really affect your options and choices. For instance, in Canada, most Canadians have access to ‘altruistic surrogacy’ (that’s where someone is contracted to carry a child for someone else for NO financial compensation). Eff Canadians nice! However those living in the province of Quebec in Canada don’t have access to this. In Quebec, the Quebec Civil Code voids all surrogacy contracts. Whan, Whan. The sitch is very similar in the US; surrogacy laws vary drastically from state to sate. Some states are fully surrogacy friendly while others penalize commercial surrogacy or have restrictions on intended parents’ having to be married, etc.
The good news is individuals living in non-friendly states and provinces can still benefit from the laws of surrogacy friendly states. Couples just have only to choose surrogates from SF (surrogacy friendly) states and provinces, draw the contracts up in those states, and have the births take place there as well. So where are the SF states and provinces in North America? We made a list
In Canada, all provinces and territories with the exception of Quebec allow for altruistic surrogacy. The Assisted Human Reproduction Act does prohibit a mother be paid for her services; however, certain expenses like food, travel, wage replacement are allowed to be reimbursed.
Surrogacy friendly states
Considered SF, these states do both altruistic and compensated surrogacy arrangements. They also grant pre-birth orders (a document assigning partake to a child) regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation, marital status, and often genetic relationship to the baby. These states are considered gold standard in the US for surrogacy.
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
Somewhat surrogacy friendly
We mean somewhat. These ones vary quite a bit. Some are friendlier than others. There are no laws prohibiting surrogacy; however, granting pre-birth orders can be dependent on factors like the county, parents’ marital status, and genetic relationship to the child.
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Not très SF friendly
These states are mostly undecided when it come to surrogacy. Their laws are wholly unclear and can result in some very inconsistent results when it comes to surrogacy contracts. Surrogacy could happen in these states, but it may be subject to some serious legal hurdles like surrogacy contracts being unenforceable.
NOT Surrogacy friendly states
Not friendly is a polite way to put the following states’ stand on surrogacy. These guys are not only NOT SF friendly but also not F’ing around. These states won’t grant you pre-birth orders. Any surrogacy arrangements made that go against their laws could also result in hefty fines and even criminal penalties.
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
While this seems to be the current status of surrogacy in North America right now, it’s important to note that surrogacy law are an ever changing animal. These classifications are based on past surrogacy cases. New cases have the potential to drastically change the landscape overnight. So before taking any steps, be sure to consult with a fertility lawyer in the state/province you’re planning to carry out your surrogacy.
Image: Janko Ferlic | Unsplash