Surrogacy has gained unprecedented popularity over the past decades across every part of the globe. Moreover, we can now say that with constant advancements in assisted reproductive technology, surrogacy has become a viable option for many individuals and couples who are unable to conceive naturally due to various infertility issues. However, the question of compensation — specifically, the legality of paid surrogacy — remains a complex issue in the USA. Talking about the complexity of paid surrogacy in the USA, it’s more about the laws varying significantly from one state to another.
In the following sections of this blog, we will take a detailed look towards this debate. Moreover, we will talk in detail about the diversity of laws related to surrogacy across various states in the USA.
Understanding Paid Surrogacy in the USA: Altruistic vs. Commercial
Surrogacy in the USA can be categorized into two types: altruistic and commercial. That said, altruistic surrogacy involves surrogates in the USA who carry a child without receiving any monetary compensation in return. Moreover, we must mention that her medical expenses and other related costs might be covered during the same arrangement. Besides, commercial surrogacy involves a financial aspect in which the surrogate receives compensation beyond just her medical and related expenses.
So, technically, during commercial surrogacy in the USA, the surrogate mother may be paid according to the amount agreed with the intended parents. Moreover, the same may or may not be agreed via a surrogacy agreement.
The big diversity in State Laws related to surrogacy
States with defined laws related to paid surrogacy
The United States lacks a federal mandate on the issue of paid surrogacy, resulting in a diversity of state laws that range from full legality to criminalization. That said, when we talk about states where Commercial Surrogacy is Legal, many states, including California, Nevada, and Illinois, have recognized the rights of individuals and couples to engage in commercial surrogacy agreements. Moreover, these states have comprehensive laws that protect the rights of all parties involved, including the surrogates in the USA, the intended parents, and the child. Moreover, the legal framework in these states generally requires thorough medical and psychological evaluations of the surrogate. Besides, they also have clear contracts that outline rights, expectations, and compensation.
States with undefined or restricted laws related to paid surrogacy
Some states, like New York, have recently legalized commercial surrogacy but with strict regulations and guidelines. That said, other states have ambiguous or silent statutes on the matter. Moreover, in these states, the lack of clear legal guidance can leave both surrogates and intended parents in a legal grey area, uncertain of their rights and protections.
So, even when a surrogacy agreement is drafted between the intended parents and the surrogate mother, either party can back out given the unclear legal protection. Also, there may be disputes and altercations on issues related to surrogacy cost in the USA.
States with a complete prohibition on paid surrogacy
A few states in the USA, such as Michigan and Nebraska, explicitly prohibit commercial surrogacy in the country. Moreover, they may impose penalties for those who participate in or facilitate such agreements. That said, these states typically allow altruistic surrogacy but believe that introducing a financial element can lead to the exploitation of women, particularly those from vulnerable socioeconomic backgrounds.
This way, the legislation ensures the protection of the rights and interests of every party involved. Moreover, they are taking away the monetary element from the noble practice of surrogacy. While many have opposed this, the government has not been able to come on the same grounds.
Ethical Considerations and Concerns
Most of the arguments against commercial surrogacy argue that it commodifies the female body and the process of childbirth. Moreover, there’s a concern that financially motivating surrogacy could lead to exploitation of women. Besides, women, particularly from lower-income backgrounds, may feel pressured into becoming surrogates purely for monetary reasons.
Also, people supporting this notion counter the practice of commercial surrogacy as an attack on personal autonomy and choice. They further argue that women have the right to decide what to do with their bodies, including entering into compensated surrogacy agreements. Furthermore, with the correct legal framework in place, the potential exploitation of surrogates in the USA can be minimized or eliminated.
Implications for Intended Parents and Surrogates
Given the varied legal landscape, intended parents and potential surrogates must be aware of the laws in their respective states. That said, engaging in commercial surrogacy in a state where it is prohibited can have significant legal repercussions for every party involved. Moreover, this may include criminal charges and loss of parental rights. Also, for surrogates, the lack of legal protection can also lead to potential exploitation or unfavourable contract terms.
Towards a More Consistent Legal Framework
The diverse state laws on commercial surrogacy in the USA highlight the need for more comprehensive discussions on the national level. That said, it may be challenging to arrive at a federal mandate given the deeply personal and ethical considerations involved. Still, there’s a clear need for guidelines that protect the rights and interests of every party involved.
Moreover, surrogacy is slowly becoming the most favourable option for family-building for millions around. Hence, it’s vital that lawmakers, ethicists, and public representatives engage in meaningful dialogues to shape a legal landscape that is both protective and progressive.
How much is the cost of surrogacy in the USA?
Talking about the surrogacy cost in the USA, you may opt for an all-inclusive package of around $100000-$1500000. Besides, it depends largely on the type of surrogacy program opted for. Also, if you have hired an egg donor or a sperm donor for the IVF treatment, you may have to spend some extra amount in the same regard.
Still, as an intended parent, your main focus should be to go for the most ethical and affordable surrogacy program. Besides, you must check and investigate the surrogacy centre you are working with. To a greater extent, this would decide whether or not your surrogacy journey is going to be a success. Also, given the quality of services offered in the USA, you may need not to pay much attention to the higher surrogacy cost in the USA.
The question of paid surrogacy in the USA is surely multifaceted. Besides, it strongly talks about women’s rights, bodily autonomy, the ethics of commodification, and the protection of vulnerable populations. That said, with states adopting varied laws and regulations, navigating this landscape can be challenging for those considering surrogacy to achieve parenthood. Also, as the USA deals with these complexities, the main goal should be to find a balance that respects individual choices while ensuring the safety and dignity of all parties involved.