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top states for surrogacy

The best states for surrogacy in 2021

June 14, 2021

Gestational surrogacy is an exciting and highly successful way to build your family. 

Unfortunately, surrogates and intended parents in certain states around the U.S. experience complexities and challenges posed by legal, medical and logistical barriers.

There are no federal regulations on surrogacy, and state laws on surrogacy differ between states. Some states are more surrogacy-friendly (such as California), and others less accommodating (like Arizona).

State surrogacy laws significantly contribute to the modeling of the legal surrogacy process. Because of this, both surrogates and intended parents look for surrogacy-friendly states with a supportive legal framework. 

Let’s cover the best states to pursue surrogacy in 2021, for both gestational carriers and intended parents. 

Surrogacy-friendly states in 2021

In the most surrogacy-friendly states, intended parents can receive the pre-birth orders regardless of their sexual orientation, marital status, and sometimes the genetic linkage to the baby. These surrogacy-friendly states also permit the birth certificate to feature both parents' names and allow both uncompensated and compensated surrogacy agreements. 

Surrogacy-friendly states include:

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • New Jersey
  • Vermont
  • Nevada
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maine

Surrogacy in California

California is considered a very surrogacy-friendly state for both intended parents and surrogates. Regardless of where you live within the state, whether in large cities such as San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, or Los Angeles, or the less inhabited regions of California, it's arguably the best state for surrogacy in the country.

The different types of intended parents who may opt for surrogacy to build their families in California include:

  • Heterosexual couples that have struggled with infertility
  • Intended parents with a genetic disorder or health problem and don't want to pass it onto the baby
  • Intended mothers who cannot carry a baby
  • Intended parents of the same sex who wish to have a genetic relationship with their child

Why California is a great state for surrogacy

California is home to the best IVF clinics in the world. Therefore, surrogate mothers in this state won't have to travel to IVF clinics for appointments if their intended parents work with an IVF clinic in California.

Less surrogacy-friendly U.S. states

These states usually don't enforce or recognize surrogacy contracts and have published case laws or statutes forbidding compensated surrogacy. In these states, traditional surrogacy is either unenforceable or discouraged. They also do not give pre-birth orders to intended parents. 

In addition, surrogates and intended parents within these states may be subject to criminal penalties or fines for being part of compensated surrogacy deals or any surrogacy pact that goes against the state law. 

However, not all of these states are necessarily surrogacy unfriendly. Most of them fall in-between and are becoming more surrogacy accommodating. 

Surrogacy-accommodating U.S. states

These states are not as surrogacy-friendly as the one mentioned above, but they're more accommodating as compared to other “red light” states such as Michigan, Louisiana, and Nebraska.

In some states, there are no legislations outlawing surrogacy, and gestational surrogacy is typically allowed by statute. They include:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia

Less friendly states for gestational surrogates

You may practice surrogacy in these states, but you might encounter legal obstacles to complete the surrogacy process. The surrogacy law in these states is unclear, and there may be significant variations in the outcomes of surrogacy contracts. 

These states include:

  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

Instead, court rulings on previous surrogacy cases determine most state-by-state surrogacy policies and regulations. 

Therefore, the handling of surrogacy cases in some states may differ from judge to judge or one county to the other. Unique personal circumstances can also influence the legal surrogacy process.

U.S. states where surrogacy is prohibited

There are only a few states whose statutes explicitly prohibit surrogacy. These red light states are mentioned above. Those states are:

  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska

Learn more about your surrogacy journey

The surrogacy process does not have to be stressful. At Hatch, we hold your hand throughout this journey and help you have a smooth surrogacy experience. Reach out to our team today to learn more. We're happy to help. 

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