Are Paid Surrogacy Contracts Legal?

A paid surrogacy contract’s legality is vital for the future of both surrogates and intended parents. When the attributes and expectations of a surrogacy contract is made legal, the parties to the contract are safeguarded from future liabilities and risks. However, surrogacy contract laws are not the same across the world. There are certain countries or regions where a surrogacy falls outside the confines of the law. Let’s understand the scenario in America.

Are paid surrogacy contracts legal? Honestly speaking, it depends on the laws of the state where the surrogate mother resides. For example, if the surrogacy-seeking couple lives in New York but the surrogate mother doesn’t, then New York laws would not apply to the case. Generally, the laws of the state where the surrogate lives comes into effect in a surrogacy arrangement.

As per New York legislature, commercial surrogate parenting agreements an unenforceable or void and against the state’s public policy. In other words, any kind of surrogacy arrangement that entails financial compensation is prohibited. If the statute is violated, strict fines or/and penalties could be imposed. This prohibition law has its roots in the Baby M case (New Jersey) that entailed a long legal tussle between a surrogate and a couple after the surrogate was not willing to part ways with the baby after its birth.

Initially, the surrogate had agreed to give the baby away post birth. However, once the relationship between the surrogate and the couple turned sour, the surrogate mother had a change of mind and wanted to keep the baby. This famous case prompted both New Jersey and New York legislatures to create laws that mitigated commercial surrogacy.

A surrogacy has changed in implementation over the years. Back in the day, the surrogate also donated the egg, which means she was genetically connected to the baby. Today, almost all surrogacies carried out do not involve the surrogate’s egg. Instead, a fertilized egg is put inside the surrogate’s womb and the baby’s father provides the sperm.

Long story short, there still isn’t much clarity on whether surrogacy contracts are legal or otherwise. Surrogacy has made it possible for infertile or childless couples to bring up their own kids. Though child adoption makes this possible too, there isn’t no genetic connection in the case of adoption.

If you’d like to learn more about surrogacy and what your legal rights are as a surrogate or individual seeking surrogacy, Baby Steps Surrogacy Center can help.