Surrogacy By State

California Surrogacy Laws

California is one of the friendliest states towards surrogacy, so it’s one of the easiest places to become a surrogate or a parent through surrogacy.

But even though CA surrogacy laws are some of the simplest and most clear-cut surrogacy laws in the United States, you’ll still need to work with experienced surrogacy professionals in order to complete your process in accordance with California surrogacy laws.

Contact a California Surrogacy Professional

The following information should not be utilized as legal advice, but rather as a basic overview of some of the laws that you may encounter in your CA surrogacy journey.

“Is Surrogacy Legal in California?”

Yes. Popular media often hypes arguments about “illegal surrogacy” or “should surrogacy be legal,” as well as the exaggerated rules and regulations of surrogacy in California. But surrogacy is actually a popular way to grow families in California and across the United States.

The legality of surrogacy in California was officially confirmed in 2013. The California Family Code § 7960 outlines the surrogacy laws in California. Not only is surrogacy legal in California, it’s a well-regulated and common way for people to come together for the sake of a common goal — creating families!

“Is California a Surrogacy Friendly State?”

Yes. In fact, California is one of the most surrogacy-friendly states in the country. In 2013, it become one of the first states to create laws specifically about surrogacy. Today, many surrogates live in California, and they are able to have their pick from dozens of California surrogacy agencies to work with.

“Is Traditional Surrogacy Legal in California?”

Traditional surrogacy is not directly addressed in California surrogacy laws. Because of the lack of traditional surrogacy laws in California, it’s not illegal and is therefore permitted. But this means that it’s not well-regulated. Traditional surrogacy also always has increased legal and emotional risks associated with it.

Gestational surrogacy laws in California, however, are very clear and make it easy for gestational surrogates and intended parents to pursue their surrogacy goals legally. This is the more common type of surrogacy.

“Is Compensated Surrogacy Legal in California?”

Yes. Commercial surrogacy is legal in California and is regulated by CA surrogacy laws. Surrogacy compensation does not, legally or ethically, mean that intended parents are giving their gestational carrier money in exchange for their baby. Surrogates are compensated for the time they dedicate, the wages they lose out on, the travel expenses they incur, the medical risks they accept and more. This is an important legal and ethical distinction.

“Can a Surrogate Keep the Baby in California?”

No, a surrogate cannot keep the baby in California. There are a few reasons for this. First, the baby is not genetically related to the gestational carrier thanks to the IVF process used in surrogacy. Second, it is prevented by the surrogacy contract.

“Is Same-Sex Surrogacy Legal in California?”

Yes. Same-sex couples and LGBT+ individuals will experience the same surrogacy process as opposite-sex couples, with the exception of potentially requiring an egg or sperm donor for the in vitro fertilization process. The legal processes will be the same as those for opposite-sex couples or single intended parents. You can learn more about LGBT surrogacy in California here.

Creating a CA Surrogacy Contract

Intended parents and a gestational surrogate (and her spouse, if applicable) will need to create and finalize a California surrogacy legal contract together before they can begin the medical stages of surrogacy in CA. For this, you’ll need individual attorneys to ensure that both parties are fairly represented throughout the process.

Surrogacy laws in California require that your surrogacy contract contain:

  • The date the contract was executed
  • The persons from which the gametes originated
  • The identity of the intended parent(s)
  • The process for any necessary pre-birth or parentage orders

Your contract will also typically cover things like the risks and responsibilities that each party is taking on, surrogate compensation, how you’d all like to handle potential “what-if” situations like the surrogate becoming pregnant with multiples, your expectations for contact and attending important appointments, and other important topics. Your contract will serve as a roadmap for your surrogacy process, including any potential circumstances you could encounter along the way.

When everyone has agreed to the contents of the contracts and they’ve been finalized, you can move on to the medical stage of the CA surrogacy process.

Determining Legal Parentage in California

Pre-birth parentage orders are permitted in California surrogacy legislation, so confirming the intended parents’ legal parental rights prior to the birth of the baby is relatively easy. No hearing is needed to obtain these pre-birth orders.

Only in occasions where unmarried intended parents work with a surrogate who delivers in a state that does not allow pre-birth or parentage orders will the intended parents typically need to complete an adoption in California after their child is born to establish their parental rights. In almost every other situation, a pre-birth parentage order will be able to establish California surrogacy legal rights for intended parents.

The laws on surrogacy in California are some of the most straightforward in the U.S. The legal process is fairly simple for both surrogates and intended parents, but you’ll still need a knowledgeable professional to complete the surrogacy process in accordance with California surrogacy laws. Contact a California surrogacy professional for information about starting your surrogacy journey now.

Male and Female couple smiling with surrogate mother
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