What You Need to Know About Surrogacy in Arkansas

What You Need to Know About Surrogacy in Arkansas

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Arkansas Surrogacy Laws and Information

In the U.S. today, there are many states in which you can complete a surrogacy, and Arkansas is one of them. Surrogacy in Arkansas has come a long way over the past few decades and, today, intended parents and surrogates can pursue surrogacy here, as long as they work with an experienced surrogacy professional and surrogacy lawyer from beginning to end.

Like the laws in many states, Arkansas surrogacy laws contain many complicated details and nuances that can affect your surrogacy journey, especially if you are an intended parent. It’s normal to have questions about the legality of the Arkansas surrogacy process before you begin, and we encourage you to speak with a local Arkansas surrogacy attorney to determine whether this family-building option is the right one for you.

In the meantime, here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about surrogacy in Arkansas, so you can start your research.

Q: Is surrogacy legal in Arkansas?

A: Surrogacy is legal in Arkansas, and the Arkansas surrogacy laws are highly favorable for those pursuing this process. Many courts are surrogacy-friendly and, more than once, the Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled in favor of intended parents.  Therefore, surrogacy in Arkansas is a safe path for intended parents and prospective surrogates to pursue.

Q: Is compensated surrogacy legal in Arkansas?

A: Yes. Surrogates can get paid in Arkansas according to the terms of their surrogacy agreement.

Q: Is traditional surrogacy legal in Arkansas?

A: There are no statutes or published case law regarding traditional surrogacy in Arkansas, meaning this process is a legal possibility for intended parents and prospective surrogates in this state.

Q: What does a surrogacy agreement in Arkansas cover, and how does the legal process work?

A: Like in any other state, a surrogacy contract in Arkansas must be drawn up by experienced surrogacy attorneys. Intended parents and surrogates must have separate legal representation, and a contract must be completed before the medical process of surrogacy can begin.

Some of the aspects that should be addressed in a surrogacy contract include:

  • Potential risks and liabilities
  • Expectations and responsibilities of intended parents and the surrogate
  • Surrogate compensation
  • Sensitive issues like selective reduction and termination
  • Contact expectations and who will be present at important appointments
  • And more

A local Arkansas surrogacy attorney can guide you through this legal process, ensuring all Arkansas surrogacy requirements are met.

Q: Are surrogacy contracts (whether compensated or altruistic) enforceable in Arkansas?

A: Arkansas surrogacy laws include a statute that declares surrogacy agreements valid, which means that they are enforceable by law like any other legal contract.

Q: What are the surrogacy laws in Arkansas on parentage orders?

A: The Arkansas surrogacy law declaring surrogacy agreements valid is more favorable toward married couples using their own egg/sperm or a single parent, but parentage orders are usually available for intended parents.

Initially, a gestational surrogate’s name will be listed on the birth certificate, but the certificate will be amended to include the intended parents, the process of which will be determined by their applicable parentage order. Beginning in 2017, same-sex couples pursuing surrogacy could have both of their names listed on their child’s birth certificate when the Arkansas Vital Records prior practice of denying them was ruled unconstitutional.

In general, any married intended parents who are genetically related to the child being born via surrogate can be listed on a pre-birth or other parentage order. Any unmarried or unrelated intended parents may need to complete an adoption after birth, but a local Arkansas surrogacy attorney can best explain what legal steps may be necessary in your situation. Like in many states, the availability of a pre-birth order will depend upon the court and the judge overseeing the surrogacy case.

Q: Are there any particular laws for parents outside the U.S. who complete a surrogacy in Arkansas?

A: No. While international intended parents will need to take additional steps to bring their child back to their native country, there are no additional laws that specifically apply to international intended parents completing a surrogacy in Arkansas.

Q: When do intended parents need to complete an adoption after birth? 

A: An individual who has a child via surrogacy and is not genetically related to that child may need to complete an adoption after birth. However, only a surrogacy attorney can provide the most accurate parentage proceedings for your personal situation.

Q: Does Arkansas allow second-parent adoptions? Who would need to complete a second-parent adoption vs. a stepparent adoption (if applicable)?

A: If intended parents are unmarried, Arkansas surrogacy courts may declare their parentage only in cases where the unmarried persons have a genetic relationship to their child born via surrogacy. If one partner in an unmarried couple has no genetic relationship to the child, a second-parent adoption (also called a co-parent adoption) is necessary. Speak to a local surrogacy attorney to determine whether a second-parent adoption is possible for you in Arkansas.

If the intended parents are married and one partner is not genetically related to the child, they can usually complete a stepparent adoption after birth to protect their parental rights, if they cannot obtain a pre-birth order.

Q: What happens in cases where intended parents use a donor egg, sperm or embryo?

A: Case law in Arkansas clarifies that egg donors and sperm donors are not parents to the child born with their gametes. Typically, any gamete donation obtained from a gamete bank will already include terminated parental rights, but you may need to take additional steps if you are using a known donor in your Arkansas surrogacy.

Again, whether or not your use of a donor gamete will require you to take additional legal steps to establish parentage will depend upon your personal situation. Speak with a local surrogacy attorney to learn more.

Q: Are there any additional laws impacting same-sex surrogacy in Arkansas?

A: No. While Arkansas surrogacy courts had a history of discriminating against LGBT intended parents, the U.S. Supreme Court determined those practices were unconstitutional in a ruling in 2017. Therefore, today, same-sex intended parents should be treated the same as any heterosexual intended parents in Arkansas.

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If you are considering surrogacy in Arkansas, American Surrogacy can help you through this journey. As a surrogacy agency based in the Midwest, we can match you with a local surrogate or intended parents, if you desire, and provide support and case management services throughout your surrogacy journey.

To learn more about our agency or to get started today, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY) or contact us online.

This article is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. While we’ve made every effort to provide updated and accurate information about surrogacy in Arkansas, the surrogacy laws in Arkansas are always subject to change. We encourage you to speak with a local attorney for the most accurate legal information.