Is Surrogacy Legal in the US and Canada?

In recent years, surrogacy has gained significant attention as an option for individuals and couples seeking to expand their families. However, surrogacy’s legality varies from country to country. This blog post will dive into the question: “Is surrogacy legal in the US and Canada?” We will explore the legal aspects to consider for those contemplating this option.

Understanding Surrogacy

Before we explore the legal aspects, let’s briefly understand what surrogacy entails. 

Surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman (the surrogate) carries and delivers a child for another person or couple (the intended parents). There are two main types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational.

  • Traditional Surrogacy: In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her eggs, making her genetically related to the child.
  • Gestational Surrogacy: In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate carries a child conceived using the egg and sperm of the intended parents or donors, making her genetically unrelated to the child.

Is Surrogacy Legal in the US?

The United States is known for its diverse surrogacy landscape. Surrogacy laws vary widely from state to state. Some states have well-established and surrogacy-friendly regulations. Others have restrictive or ambiguous regulations.

Generally, surrogacy is widely practiced in states such as California, Nevada, and Illinois. These states have clear legal frameworks that protect the rights of parents and surrogates.

However, states like Michigan have very complex surrogacy laws, making it challenging for intended parents to pursue surrogacy in this state.

It’s crucial for intended parents considering surrogacy in the United States to seek legal counsel and choose a surrogacy-friendly state.

Is Surrogacy Legal in Canada?

Unlike the US, where the legal landscape varies by state, surrogacy in Canada is legal. The Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA) is federal legislation that outlines the permitted and banned activities in Canada.

Here are some pros and cons of surrogacy in Canada:

  • Altruistic Surrogacy: Canadian law prohibits commercial surrogacy. Surrogates cannot receive compensation beyond reimbursement for pregnancy-related expenses. 
  • Parental Rights: In Canada, the laws of each province govern parental rights. The process and timing of birth registration can vary, but in all cases, intended parents assume physical custody of their newborn at birth while awaiting the legal registration process and the issuance of birth certificates. 
  • Egg and Sperm Donation: Using donor eggs or sperm is allowed in Canada. 

While surrogacy is legal in Canada, only compassionate agreements are allowed. Ensure you adhere to the country’s laws and regulations.

Where Is Surrogacy Legal?

In addition to Canada and the US, surrogacy is legally recognized and regulated in other countries, each with its unique set of rules:

  • The United Kingdom, allowing only altruistic surrogacy.
  • Australia, where regulations vary by state.
  • South Africa, permitting both commercial and altruistic surrogacy.
  • Greece, which has well-regulated surrogacy practices.
  • Ukraine, where commercial surrogacy is widely practiced.

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In Conclusion

Surrogacy’s regulations vary by country and, in some cases, by region within countries.

The legality of surrogacy in the US and Canada is complex. Surrogacy laws vary between the US states and Canadian provinces. In the United States, intended parents can choose a surrogacy-friendly state that aligns with their preferences and needs. In Canada, surrogacy is legal but closely regulated, based on altruism and protecting children’s rights.

Ultimately, surrogacy can offer a beautiful path to parenthood. Still, navigating the legal aspects is crucial to ensure a successful and legally sound surrogacy journey.

If you’re still asking yourself, “Is surrogacy legal in the US?” or “Is surrogacy legal in Canada?” the answer is yes, with significant legal considerations that vary by location. Always consult legal experts to navigate the intricacies of surrogacy laws in your jurisdiction.


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Written by David
I work daily to make surrogacy available to as many intended parents, surrogate mothers and egg donors around the world as possible.

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