There are no laws that specifically address surrogacy in Missouri. This also means that there are no laws deliberately restricting potential surrogates and intended parents from pursuing their dreams of surrogacy in Missouri.
This is good news for hopeful intended parents and prospective surrogates in this state; it means surrogacy is legally possible here, as long as you work closely with experienced surrogacy professionals throughout the process. Despite the lack of local surrogacy laws, Missouri is actually a very surrogacy-friendly state with a well-defined process developed by experienced local attorneys.
However, surrogacy laws in the United States in general can be complex, and which state’s laws apply to your surrogacy journey can vary depending on your individual situation. You’ll need an experienced surrogacy attorney to guide you through the Missouri surrogacy laws and to complete your legal surrogacy process.
If you have any questions about surrogacy law in MO, or if you have legal issues with surrogacy, contact a surrogacy attorney. The following information should not be used as legal advice, and is only intended to give you a basic understanding of some of the Missouri surrogacy laws that may affect you.
“Is Surrogacy Legal in Missouri?”
Many prospective surrogates and intended parents are unsure of the legality of surrogacy in Missouri when they first begin learning about the surrogacy process. They’ve heard arguments in the media about “illegal surrogacy” or “should surrogacy be legal,” and they worry that there will be too many rules and regulations of surrogacy in Missouri to actually pursue it as a family-building option.
But not only is surrogacy legal in Missouri, it’s an increasingly common and celebrated way to grow families.
“Is Traditional Surrogacy Legal in Missouri?”
Although there are no specific traditional surrogacy laws in Missouri to legally prohibit this method of surrogacy, there are increased legal risks associated with traditional surrogacy for all parties. This, along with the emotional complexities associated with traditional surrogacy, has made gestational surrogacy the preferred method for both intended parents and surrogates.
Likewise, there are no specific gestational surrogacy laws in Missouri; however, the practice is legal and common in the state.
“Is Compensated Surrogacy Legal in Missouri?”
Yes. Commercial surrogacy is legal in Missouri. But intended parents are not paying a gestational carrier for a baby, and surrogacy contracts must clearly reflect this. Instead, compensation for surrogates is in exchange for the surrogate’s time, wages she lost while attending surrogacy-related appointments, her traveling expenses, the medical risks she accepts to become pregnant and more.
“Is Same-Sex Surrogacy Legal in Missouri?”
Yes. When the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, that legislation also ensured that same-sex couples could pursue surrogacy the same as any opposite-sex couple. Learn more about LGBT surrogacy in Missouri here.
Creating a Surrogacy Contract
A Missouri surrogacy legal contract between intended parents and a surrogate (and her spouse, if applicable) is drafted before the medical process begins. This contract details what would happen in the event of potential situations like a surrogate becoming pregnant with multiples, additional IVF cycles and more. It also discusses compensation for the surrogate, which is legal in Missouri for her time, effort and participation in the process, legal parental rights and more. The surrogate and the intended parents will each need their own separate legal representation in order to ensure that each party’s rights and interests are properly represented.
Once everyone has agreed on the details within the contract, the medical process can begin, with the goal of a healthy pregnancy. The attorneys will send a letter to the agreed-upon fertility clinic stating that both parties have signed a formal surrogacy contract and that any child born from that surrogacy procedure is legally the child of the intended parents.
Determining Legal Parentage in Missouri
Missouri surrogacy legislation does not permit pre-birth orders to confirm the intended parents’ legal rights as parents, so instead, a post-birth parentage order must be filed.
A parentage action will be filed with the court to establish the intended parents as the legal parents of the child and ensure that the gestational carrier and her spouse (if applicable) won’t have any parental roles or rights.
The parentage action petition will be filed during the second trimester of a surrogate’s pregnancy. However, judgment on that action is typically received 1-3 days post-birth. After receiving that court judgment, the intended parents are legally and officially their baby’s parents. The judgment can then be sent to the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records so that a birth certificate listing the intended parents as the baby’s parents may be issued.
There are also a few situations where a post-birth adoption by the intended parents would be required to ensure their legal parental rights. Learn more about when second-parent adoption might be required in a surrogacy situation here. Again, consult a surrogacy professional if you’re unsure whether or not a legal adoption would be required in your situation.
Although there aren’t any specific surrogacy laws in Missouri that you’ll need to contend with, the legal process of surrogacy is still relatively complex. Ensuring that parental rights of the intended parents are successfully secured can be trickier in some individual situations than in others, so you should always consult with a surrogacy professional before beginning the surrogacy process.