Legality of Surrogacy Around the World

My head has been spinning since I started researching the legality of surrogacy around the world. Trying to find clear answers surrounding surrogacy law has been a wild goose chase. There are countries where all forms of surrogacy is banned. Some countries don’t have legal regulations surrounding surrogacy. Some have uncertain regulation or are completely unregulated. Then, there are different forms of surrogacy that are either banned, allowed OR unclear. Gestational surrogacy is legal in more countries than traditional surrogacy. Altruistic surrogacy is legal in places where commercial surrogacy is illegal. Whether the intended parent identifies as LGBTQ can determine the legality of the surrogacy arrangement in certain places. To make things even more confusing, these laws change all the time.  

Although the United States is among the countries where surrogacy is legal, surrogacy laws vary from state-to-state. A gestational surrogate can be compensated if she gives birth in Montana but if she gives birth in Washington, compensation would be illegal. Washington is one of a handful of states that ban commercial surrogacy or make a surrogacy contract unenforceable. Intended parents who reside in one of these states have to find a surrogate in one of the states where surrogacy is legal. Even within a state, the laws can be different from county-to-county.

Just last year, I was a gestational surrogate for two intended fathers. I was planning to travel to Colorado when I was 36 weeks gestation to give birth there because the surrogacy laws regarding two fathers on the birth certificate were unclear in the state of Montana, it had never been done here. I did end up going into labor early and gave birth in Bozeman at 34 weeks and the father’s got both of their names on the birth certificate, making that baby the first baby born with two fathers on the birth certificate in the state. One of the lawyers who helped make that happen, Ellen Trachman, has since opened Colorado Surrogacy, New Mexico Surrogacy and Montana Surrogacy (she’s also my boss).

Amber Campanelli ~ The Honest Surrogate