While there are no state-specific surrogacy laws in Pennsylvania, it’s still absolutely legal to become a family through surrogacy, or to help others to have children by becoming a surrogate here. In fact, Pennsylvania surrogacy is a common family-building method.
However, due to the complexity of surrogacy laws in the United States, you’ll always need to work with experienced surrogacy professionals to ensure that your process is completed correctly — especially given the lack of Pennsylvania surrogacy laws.
You should contact a surrogacy attorney if you have any questions about surrogacy laws in PA or if you have any worrying legal issues with surrogacy. The information below is meant as a general overview of PA surrogate laws, and should not be taken as legal advice.
Here are some common questions about Pennsylvania surrogacy laws that may help you in your journey:
“Is Surrogacy Legal in Pennsylvania?”
Yes. Although there aren’t laws in Pennsylvania specifically addressing surrogacy, a case in 2006 confirmed the legality of surrogacy in Pennsylvania.
You’ve likely heard overhyped arguments in the media about “illegal surrogacy” or whether surrogacy should be legal, in addition to the rumored rules and regulations of surrogacy in Pennsylvania. But not only is surrogacy legal in Pennsylvania, it’s an increasingly popular option for families in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S.
“Is Traditional Surrogacy Legal in Pennsylvania?”
While traditional surrogacy is permitted in Pennsylvania, it’s not well-regulated and has additional legal and emotional risks associated with it. Traditional surrogacy laws in Pennsylvania are treated as adoption laws, so pre-birth parentage orders and compensation for traditional surrogates are not permitted. There will also be additional post-birth steps required to establish the legal parental rights for intended parents in traditional surrogacy that are not required for gestational surrogacy. Not all surrogacy professionals will complete a traditional surrogacy due to the risks.
Gestational surrogacy laws in Pennsylvania are clearer, so it’s easier for surrogates and intended parents to establish the legal and emotional roles earlier in the process. Gestational surrogacy is the preferred method of surrogacy for almost all surrogates and intended parents in PA.
“Is Compensated Surrogacy Legal in Pennsylvania?”
Commercial surrogacy is allowed in Pennsylvania for gestational surrogates but not for traditional surrogates. Surrogate compensation is for the time, lost wages, travel expenses, medical risks and dedication that surrogates put into caring for and carrying a child on behalf of the intended parents. This is an important legal and ethical distinction, as surrogacy compensation does not, in any way, mean that intended parents are paying their gestational carrier for their baby.
“Is Same-Sex Surrogacy Legal in Pennsylvania?”
Yes. Although, due to the lack of pre-birth parentage orders in Pennsylvania, it’s advised that you work with a surrogacy professional who has experience with Pennsylvania surrogacy laws for same-sex couples. They’ll know what legal steps you might need to take in order to protect your parental rights based on your individual circumstances and can advise you accordingly.
Other than those surrogacy legal differences for PA same-sex couples, the only other difference in the surrogacy process is that you may need to work with an egg or sperm donor for the in vitro fertilization process. You can learn more about LGBT surrogacy in Pennsylvania here.
Creating a PA Surrogacy Contract
The intended parents and gestational surrogate (and her spouse, if applicable) will need to draft and then finalize a Pennsylvania surrogacy legal contract prior to taking any medical actions together. You’ll each need your own attorney to ensure that each party is fairly represented during this important process.
Your attorney will make sure that your contracts adhere to all surrogacy laws in Pennsylvania and the U.S. and that all potential risks and responsibilities are addressed. This includes surrogate compensation, how you’d want to handle any potential unforeseen complications, expectations for contact and social roles, attending important appointments and other important points of discussion.
Once everyone is confident about the contract and the documents are finalized, you can proceed to the medical stage of the PA surrogacy process together.
Determining Legal Parentage in Pennsylvania
Because of the lack of laws on surrogacy in Pennsylvania, pre-birth parentage orders aren’t typically permitted under PA surrogacy legislation. This means that there may be a few extra legal steps needed to confirm the intended parents’ legal parental rights to their baby after he or she is born. What those steps will be usually depends on your individual circumstances and the type of surrogacy you’re pursuing.
Surrogacy laws in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S. can be complex, so you’ll need a knowledgeable and experienced professional to help you navigate how the lack of Pennsylvania surrogacy laws may affect you. Contact a Pennsylvania surrogacy professional now to learn more about which laws may affect your ability to become a parent via surrogacy, or to become a surrogate for someone else in PA.