Reproductive Options

How Surrogacy Laws Differ State-To-State

Surrogacy is becoming increasingly popular, offering a path forward for those who are unable to conceive or carry a child on their own. 

With this popularity though, it’s important for surrogates to understand the full picture – there are no federal laws governing surrogacy, which means states have made their own rules, and they can vary wildly from state to state. This means that being a surrogate in certain states is much more complex than others – 

In this guide, we’ll dig into the surrogacy laws in a few different states across the United States to help provide some clarity and guidance for anyone considering this journey.

What Is Surrogacy?

Before diving into the state-specific laws, let’s review the basics of surrogacy first. 

Surrogacy typically involves two primary types: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own egg, making her the biological mother of the child – this is substantially more complicated legally and is much less common. 

In contrast, gestational surrogacy involves the implantation of an embryo created through in vitro fertilization (IVF), where neither the surrogate or her eggs are genetically related to the child she carries. This is the form of surrogacy that is most commonly used, and is the form of surrogacy that Reproductive Options uses. 

What Are The State Laws on Surrogacy?

Surrogacy laws in the United States vary significantly by state, with some states having comprehensive legislation regulating the practice and others having little to no specific laws addressing surrogacy. 

This is a big reason that we recommend reaching out to a reputable surrogacy agency before beginning any form of journey – this allows you to lean on their expertise, and provides a clear map for what can be an otherwise complicated experience. 

States with Favorable Surrogacy Laws:


California is often considered one of the most surrogacy-friendly states. It has well-established legal frameworks protecting the rights of intended parents and surrogates, making it a popular destination for surrogacy arrangements.


In Washington, gestational surrogacy is legal with certain regulations in place to ensure the rights and protections of all parties involved. The Washington Uniform Parentage Act governs surrogacy arrangements, recognizing intended parents as the legal parents of any child born through gestational surrogacy.

Washington D.C

Washington, D.C. has a reputation as being a surrogacy-friendly location – with well-defined laws.


Similar to California, Colorado has one of the most surrogacy-friendly judicial systems in the country. Colorado courts routinely grant intended parents pre-birth parentage orders (PBOs) before the baby is delivered, and removes the difficulty of post-birth legalities. 

New Jersey

Gestational surrogacy is legal in New Jersey, thanks to the 2018 amendments to New Jersey surrogacy laws.


Nevada’s surrogacy laws are favorable for intended parents and surrogates alike. The state has clear statutes governing surrogacy agreements and has historically been supportive of surrogacy arrangements.


Illinois has comprehensive surrogacy laws that provide clear guidelines for both traditional and gestational surrogacy arrangements. These laws offer protections for all parties involved and facilitate a relatively straightforward surrogacy process.

Don’t see your state? Get in touch with our team to learn more.

States That Do Not Allow Surrogacy


Compensated surrogacy in Michigan is illegal, though courts may still grant pre-birth orders if no payment or compensation has been made to the surrogate by the Intended Parents. 


In Nebraska surrogacy contracts are deemed illegal, however the language of the statute does allow for surrogacy practice in limited scenarios. Pre-birth parentage orders are prohibited in the state of Nebraska, but courts may grant post-birth orders to biological fathers, and biological fathers only. 


Surrogacy in Louisiana is a highly regulated process for both intended parents and surrogates. It is limited to intended parents who are married and who are both biological parents of a child (meaning, no donor was used). Alongside this, the baby must be carried by a surrogate who isn’t compensated outside of specific limited expenses. 

Don’t see your state? Get in touch with our team to learn more.

How a Surrogacy Agency Can Help

We know, this can be a pretty complex road depending on where you live. That’s where a reputable surrogacy agency comes in. They help you work with third party companies to cover all things from legal representation to  contractual agreements – below are some of the items that you must consider, and how an agency can help.

Legal Representation

It’s essential for all parties involved in a surrogacy arrangement to seek legal representation from attorneys experienced in reproductive law. These professionals can provide guidance and ensure that all legal requirements are met. Often, agencies have partnerships or strong relationships with surrogacy attorneys who are well versed in this world.

Medical and Psychological Screening

Surrogates and intended parents should undergo thorough medical and psychological screening to ensure their suitability for the surrogacy process and to address any potential risks or concerns. Your agency will support you throughout this process, helping to advocate for you and your needs.

Contractual Agreements 

Surrogacy agreements should be carefully drafted to outline the rights, responsibilities, and expectations of all parties involved. These contracts typically address issues such as compensation, medical expenses, and parental rights. Your agency will help you to identify a fair agreement, and guide you through these steps to ensure you’re properly compensated.

Surrogacy can be an extremely rewarding and fulfilling journey for intended parents and surrogates alike, but it’s essential to navigate the legal complexities with care and diligence. By understanding the surrogacy laws in your state and seeking appropriate legal guidance, you can ensure a smooth and successful surrogacy experience. 

Whether you’re considering surrogacy as a path to parenthood or contemplating becoming a surrogate yourself, knowledge of the legal landscape is key to making informed decisions and protecting your rights and interests.

Begin your surrogacy journey with Reproductive Options Today!

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