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Surrogacy and Artificial Conception

Welcome to the Surrogacy and Artificial Conception Laws section of FindLaw's Family Law Center. This section covers issues related to conceiving and carrying a child to term outside of the traditional method.

Technological advances in child conception and pregnancy have brought a host of new legal and ethical issues. For example, how does the law treat a surrogate mother who carries a child to term, and then decides she wants to keep the child? Have the prospective parents unlawfully tried to purchase a child? Has the surrogate committed the crime of fraud? The facts of each non-traditional parenting case are unique.

This section contains information on fertility and surrogacy laws, such as who has custody of embryos, the rights of donors and surrogates, and why using an attorney to arrange for the services of a surrogate mother can be helpful.

Surrogacy Law

Surrogacy is when a woman carries an implanted embryo to birth, or otherwise has a baby for a person or couple other than herself.

Surrogacy law can be complicated and varies by state. This section provides tools, such as a surrogacy contract checklist and a surrogacy application questionnaire. It provides information about finding and hiring a surrogate, as well as drafting a contract to carry a baby for another person.

Whether you are the prospective parent(s) or a prospective surrogate, you may want a lawyer involved to make sure your agreement is enforceable in your state.

Artificial Conception

Artificial conception is any practice that involves non-traditional conception, such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. As many of these practices involve medical procedures, health care law and medical malpractice can be a factor in these situations.

This section includes topics like the storage and destruction of unused sperm and unused embryos. You'll find questions to ask infertility services and a sample intake form that can help when meeting with an attorney to discuss surrogacy and artificial conception options.

Family Law Related to Surrogacy and Artificial Conception

Surrogacy can add a complicating factor in child custody, visitation, and other family law matters. When surrogacy or artificial insemination was conducted using a donor's sperm, who the legal father is could be brought into question. This can happen if one of the parties changes their mind and the surrogacy contract or gestational agreement has not been drafted and executed correctly and validated by the court. The specifics may depend on the legal requirements in your state. These problems are further addressed in the articles below.

Additionally, same-sex couples using artificial insemination may be concerned about adoption laws relating to LGBTQ couples in their state. These topics are available elsewhere on

Additional Resources

Parents-to-be reviewing this section may also be interested in adoption and foster care information, which is available on Adoption can be a great way to start or expand your family.

Whether you are just starting the journey of parenthood or have been trying for some time, you may need the help of an experienced family law attorney to ensure smooth sailing. An attorney can make sure the ethical and legal hurdles of your surrogacy, artificial insemination, or in vitro fertilization are surmountable obstacles.

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