What You Need to Know About Surrogacy in Iowa

Iowa Surrogacy Laws and Information

Is surrogacy legal in Iowa? Can I become an intended parent or surrogate in Iowa? Learn more about surrogacy laws in Iowa with American Surrogacy.

An Iowa surrogacy is in many ways similar to surrogacy processes in other states in the U.S. with no defined surrogacy laws. While intended parents in an Iowa surrogacy cannot always obtain a pre-birth order, there are set legal steps that can be taken to protect intended parents’ rights — and, therefore, surrogacy in Iowa can be a safe process for intended parents and surrogates alike.

However, it’s crucial that you work with an experienced Iowa surrogacy professional from the beginning of the process. American Surrogacy can always serve as your professional surrogacy agency, and our specialists can refer you to a trusted Iowa surrogacy attorney for any of your questions about Iowa surrogacy laws.

In the meantime, find the answers to some of those questions below.

Q: Is surrogacy legal in Iowa?

A: There are very few surrogacy laws in Iowa, although there is a “surrogate mother arrangement” exemption from criminal provisions regarding the sale or purchase of human beings. Because of this, surrogacy is legal in Iowa, and the courts are generally favorable for the intended parents and surrogates who enter into this kind of arrangement.

The most extensive surrogacy law in Iowa refers to the establishing of parental rights after a child is born via gestational surrogacy. Any other legal steps required in an Iowa surrogacy will need to be handled according to an Iowa surrogacy attorney.

Q: Is compensated surrogacy legal in Iowa?

A: Yes. There are no regulations regarding the base compensation a surrogate can receive for her services in this state.

Q: Is traditional surrogacy legal in Iowa?

A: Traditional surrogacy is not outlawed in this state, but there may be additional legal steps to follow for Iowa surrogacies in which the surrogate is related to the child she carries.

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

A: Surrogacy agreements in Iowa are created in a similar method as surrogacy contracts in another state, given that there are no surrogacy laws in Iowa that regulate this legal process. Therefore, intended parents and surrogates should hire separate lawyers for the drafting of this legal document and to make sure their rights and interests are properly addressed before the medical process of surrogacy begins.

Look for these aspects in an effectively drafted Iowa surrogacy contract:

  • Surrogate compensation
  • Other finances, including surrogate insurance
  • Rights and responsibilities for each party during and after the surrogacy process
  • Potential risks and liabilities and protections against them
  • Contact preferences before, during and after the surrogacy process
  • And more

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

A: There are no surrogacy laws in Iowa indicating whether surrogacy contracts are enforceable, but it is assumed that, like other legal contracts in Iowa, surrogacy contracts can be upheld in a court of law.

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

A: Iowa surrogacy courts readily grant pre-birth orders when at least one intended parent uses his or her gametes and when one partner in a marriage is a genetic parent of the child born via surrogacy. However, any pre-birth orders issued in Iowa are only partial orders; a post-birth process may be required to finalize the surrogacy.

In Iowa, a surrogate is considered to be the legal mother, regardless of her genetic relationship to the baby she carries. Therefore, only the intended father can obtain a pre-birth order. A genetically related intended mother can obtain a post-birth parentage order, while a non-genetically related intended parent must complete an adoption after birth to establish their parental rights.

It’s always recommended that intended parents in an Iowa surrogacy speak with a surrogacy attorney from the beginning of their process to determine what legal steps will be necessary to establish their parental rights.

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

A: No. All laws that apply to domestic intended parents presumably apply to international intended parents, as well.

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

A: If an intended mother or second intended father is not genetically related to the child born via surrogacy in Iowa, they will need to complete an adoption after birth to establish their parental rights.

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

A: Yes, Iowa does allow second-parent adoptions. A non-genetically related parent who is not married to their child’s biological intended parent can complete a second-parent adoption, while a married intended parent can complete a stepparent adoption.

Neither of these adoption processes requires the formalities of an Iowa adoption, like a home study.

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

A: As mentioned, any intended parents who are not genetically related to the child being born via surrogacy in Iowa will need to complete an adoption after birth. In addition, if neither parent is genetically related to their child, Iowa adoption laws will likely need to be followed to establish parental rights.

Again, speak with a local surrogacy attorney in Iowa to learn about what legal steps will be needed if you use a donor egg, sperm or embryo in your surrogacy journey.

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

A: No. The Iowa Supreme Court concluded in 2013 that both LGBT intended parents must be placed on their child’s birth certificate; therefore, same-sex couples have the same rights as opposite-sex couples in an Iowa surrogacy.


If you are considering surrogacy in Iowa, or have more questions about how surrogacy in Iowa (or surrogacy in general) works, you can always contact American Surrogacy for more information. Our offices are centrally located in the Midwest, and we are happy to work with intended parents and prospective surrogates in Iowa. Our case management services are always available to you to help you reach your personal surrogacy goals.

To learn more today, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

While American Surrogacy has attempted to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information about surrogacy in Iowa, surrogacy laws are always subject to change, and we make no guarantee this article is 100 percent accurate. This information is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice; please contact an experienced surrogacy attorney in Iowa for more information about the current legality of this family-building process.