IVF or gestational surrogacy can create families and change lives forever. It is a process filled with emotions, some expected and others unexpected, that brings intended parents together with a surrogate when the intended parents either cannot or choose not to have a child through traditional methods.
California offers easy-to-understand laws that protect the rights of all parties involved, especially the intended parents, who often pay thousands of dollars to achieve their dream of having a baby. The law also ensures the health of the surrogate mother, the egg donor (if there is one) and the baby.
The legal process
There are decades of case law in California in this practice area, which helps significantly when questions arise during the surrogacy process.
In addition to a well-established and reputable legal procedure, California permits intended parents to become the child’s parents before birth using a pre-birth legal parentage order, which is a court-issued document.
Pre-natal parental rights
A pre-natal legal parentage order states that:
- The intended parents are the baby’s true legal parents.
- It protects the intended parents’ right to have their names on the baby’s birth certificate.
- It gives the new parents the authority to make medical decisions for their baby in the hospital.
- It makes it possible for them to take their baby home from the hospital, creating an environment very similar to that of a normal birth.
Unlike most other states, where the court grants intended parents’ parental rights after the baby is born, in California, intended parents can become the baby’s parents before birth. In addition, the state of California maintains jurisdiction over any surrogacy case with connections to the state.
For instance, if the surrogate or the intended parents are residents of California, the baby is born in California, or the parties sign the surrogacy agreement in California, they remain protected under California’s surrogacy laws.
Access and diversity
California allows anyone to go through the surrogacy process regardless of their:
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
- Relationship to the child
The state’s progressive laws protect families in states where they may not be able to have a child via surrogacy, whether because the law does not allow them to or because of laws in a state that is silent about specific circumstances (for example, an unmarried gay couple who wishes to have a child via a surrogate.)
The state’s clear, progressive policies, the amount of case law available on the subject and the straightforward process make California one of the best places in the world for surrogacy.