Is surrogacy legal in Maryland? What are the surrogacy laws in Maryland? Can I be an intended parent or prospective surrogate in this state?
These are all common questions about surrogacy in Maryland. After all, it’s crucial that all prospective surrogates and intended parents fully understand the surrogacy laws in Maryland and the particular family-building process in this state before committing to this journey.
The best way to learn more about surrogacy in Maryland is by speaking with an experienced surrogacy professional from the moment you start considering this path. All intended parents and surrogates should also contact a local Maryland surrogacy attorney to find out what surrogacy laws will apply to their situation.
To get you started, we’ve answered some of the most common questions about Maryland surrogacy laws below.
Q: Is surrogacy legal in Maryland?
A: Currently, there are no surrogacy laws in Maryland. However, in 2007, the Maryland Court of Appeals made a ruling that indirectly approved of gestational surrogacy arrangements. Therefore, surrogacy is implicitly legal in Maryland today, although many steps of the legal process are determined by the individual court and judge overseeing the surrogacy case.
Q: Is compensated surrogacy legal in Maryland?
A: Yes. There are no surrogacy laws in Maryland regulating the base compensation that a gestational surrogate can receive for her services.
Q: Is traditional surrogacy legal in Maryland?
A: Yes, but the process does come with risks. In fact, the Maryland Attorney General released an opinion on compensated traditional surrogacy arrangements in 2000, stating “surrogacy contracts that involve the payment of a fee to the birth mother are, in most instances, illegal and unenforceable under Maryland law.” Therefore, like traditional surrogacy in most states, traditional surrogacy in Maryland would come with potential legal complications stemming from the surrogate’s relationship to the baby.
Q: What does a surrogacy agreement in Maryland cover, and how does the legal process work?
A: Because there are no surrogacy laws in Maryland that address surrogate contracts, the process of creating a surrogacy contract in this state is similar to the process in other states that have limited surrogacy laws.
The surrogate and the intended parents in a surrogacy agreement must be represented by separate surrogacy lawyers in Maryland for the drafting of this legal document. This ensures that the rights and interests of each party are properly protected. These lawyers will negotiate the terms of the surrogacy contract until each party is comfortable with what is included.
Maryland surrogacy contracts should always address:
- Rights and responsibilities of each party
- Potential risks and liabilities for each party, and steps to follow should one occur
- Surrogate compensation and other financial details, including surrogacy insurance
- Contact expectations
- And more
Working with an experienced surrogacy attorney in Maryland will ensure that your surrogacy contract addresses all aspects required to start the medical process of surrogacy.
Q: Are surrogacy contracts (whether compensated or altruistic) enforceable in Maryland?
A: There are no surrogacy laws in Maryland that address the enforceability of surrogacy contracts. Speak with a local surrogacy attorney to learn more about this aspect of the legal surrogacy process.
Q: What are the surrogacy laws in Maryland on parentage orders?
A: Generally speaking, Maryland surrogacy courts can grant pre-birth orders to both married and unmarried couples and individuals, even if the intended parents have no genetic relationship to the child being born via surrogacy. Intended parents will need to speak with a local Maryland surrogacy attorney to learn what legal steps need to be taken in their situation to establish parentage of their child. Like in many other states, the availability of pre-birth parentage orders 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 Maryland?
A: No. International intended parents in a Maryland surrogacy are not subject to any specific surrogacy laws that domestic intended parents are not.
Q: When do intended parents need to complete an adoption after birth?
A: While the availability of pre-birth parentage orders will vary based on the court and judge, in theory, intended parents of all marital status and genetic relationship to their child can obtain a pre-birth parentage order in a Maryland surrogacy.
However, intended parents from Maryland who complete a surrogacy in another state where they can’t obtain a parentage order may have to complete an adoption after birth to establish their parental rights.
Q: Does Maryland allow second-parent adoptions? Who would need to complete a second-parent adoption vs. a stepparent adoption (if applicable)?
A: Yes, second-parent adoptions are available in Maryland. Unmarried intended parents who cannot establish their parentage through a parentage order can do so with this adoption process after birth. Married intended parents can complete a stepparent adoption.
Q: What happens in cases where intended parents use a donor egg, sperm or embryo?
A: As mentioned, intended parents who complete a Maryland surrogacy can typically obtain a pre-birth parentage order even if they use a donor sperm, egg, or embryo in their family-building process. If they cannot obtain a parentage order, a post-birth adoption order may be necessary.
Speak with a local surrogacy attorney in Maryland for more information about what legal steps may be needed in your situation.
Q: Are there any additional laws impacting same-sex surrogacy in Maryland?
A: No. LGBT intended parents are not subject to any additional Maryland surrogacy laws that other intended parents are not.
If you are considering surrogacy in Maryland, American Surrogacy can help. Our agency welcomes intended parents and surrogates from Maryland, and we can help connect you to a surrogacy partner either within your own state or another surrogacy-friendly state in the U.S.
As your surrogacy agency, American Surrogacy will provide the case management and support services you need to have as successful a surrogacy journey as possible. To learn more about our professional surrogacy services today, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY).
Surrogacy laws in Maryland are always subject to change, so American Surrogacy makes no guarantee the information on Maryland surrogacy presented in this article is accurate and up-to-date. This article should not be taken as legal advice; instead, please contact a local surrogacy attorney in Maryland for the best legal guidance.