If you are considering surrogacy in North Carolina, either as an intended parent or a prospective surrogate, you may worry about the fact that there are no surrogacy laws in North Carolina. You may ask: Is surrogacy legal in North Carolina? Is this a safe place to achieve my surrogacy goals?
It’s true: Like many states, North Carolina does not have any surrogacy laws at this time. However, this doesn’t mean the process is unsafe or illegal for intended parents or prospective surrogates. On the contrary, surrogacy is legal in North Carolina, and many people use this family-building process to make their dreams come true.
Surrogacy professionals in North Carolina have created a set process for intended parents and surrogates wishing to complete a surrogacy in this state. So, you’ll need to work with an experienced North Carolina surrogacy agency and surrogacy attorney in order to protect your rights and interests during this life-changing journey.
You can get started today by calling the surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).
In the meantime, here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about surrogacy in North Carolina — to help you decide whether it’s the right path for you.
Q: Is surrogacy legal in North Carolina?
A: While there are no surrogacy laws in North Carolina, most courts and judges are favorable to the process. Therefore, with the proper legal guidance, intended parents and surrogates can complete a surrogacy in North Carolina.
Q: Is compensated surrogacy legal in North Carolina?
A: Compensated surrogacy is legal in North Carolina, as it is outlined in an individual surrogacy contract.
Q: Is traditional surrogacy legal in North Carolina?
A: There are no laws outlawing traditional surrogacy in North Carolina. However, the process through which parental rights are established varies. Some courts may name the biological father on the birth certificate but will also name the traditional surrogate as the mother, necessitating a parentage order or adoption for the second intended parent. Speak with a local surrogacy attorney to determine whether traditional surrogacy is an option where you are located.
Q: What does a surrogacy agreement in North Carolina cover, and how does the legal process work?
A: A surrogacy agreement in North Carolina covers all of the possible risks and liabilities of the surrogacy process, as well as outlines all of the expectations and responsibilities of both parties involved. You cannot complete a surrogacy in North Carolina without a surrogacy contract created under the legal counsel of a surrogacy attorney. Because there are no laws on surrogacy in North Carolina, a surrogacy attorney is the only professional who can ensure you are proceeding in a safe and legal manner.
The intended parents and surrogate in a surrogacy agreement should be represented by separate lawyers, who will negotiate terms of the contract like:
Physical and emotional risks and liabilities
Sensitive topics like selective reduction and termination
Each party’s responsibilities and expectations before, during and after the surrogacy
Q: Are surrogacy contracts (whether compensated or altruistic) enforceable in North Carolina?
A: Like any other contract in North Carolina, a surrogacy contract is enforceable if both parties agree to and sign the statements within it.
Q: What are the surrogacy laws in North Carolina on parentage orders?
A: Surrogacy attorneys in North Carolina must file a “complaint for declaratory judgement” to obtain a pre-birth order for intended parents. Once the surrogate is pregnant and past her first trimester, the surrogacy attorney will file for the pre-birth order, which intended parents can take to the hospital to ensure their names are placed on their child’s birth certificate.
Many judges in North Carolina will grant pre-birth orders to intended parents, usually to: married couples who have used both or one of their gametes; an unmarried couple using both of their gametes; a single parent who has used their own sperm or egg; or a couple or single parent using donor embryos or donor egg and donor sperm.
Some North Carolina surrogacy judges may not recognize the parentage of couples and single parents with no genetic link to their child born via surrogacy. Instead, these individuals may need to complete an adoption after birth.
Again, the best way to know what your legal process will look like as an intended parent is by working with an experienced North Carolina surrogacy attorney.
Q: Are there any particular laws for parents outside the U.S. who complete a surrogacy in North Carolina?
A: While there are no additional laws that apply specifically to international intended parents completing a surrogacy in North Carolina, their process will need to be completed according to all state legal regulations. For example, if a same-sex male couple wishes to obtain a birth certificate naming only them as the parents of their child, it is preferable that they are married — as some North Carolina surrogacy judges may not grant a pre-birth order for unmarried individuals. North Carolina does not allow unmarried couples to obtain second-parent adoptions.
Q: When do intended parents need to complete an adoption after birth?
A: Any intended parent that cannot be issued a pre- or post-birth parentage order must complete an adoption to establish their parental rights to their child after he or she is born.
In most cases where the baby is being born via gestational surrogacy, a judge will issue a pre-birth order to both members of the married couple, even the non-genetically related parent(s). However, if neither intended parent is related to the baby, they may need to establish their parental rights through a different legal process like an adoption.
Q: Does North Carolina allow second-parent adoptions?
A: Second-parent adoptions are illegal in North Carolina; however, same-sex stepparents can adopt their stepchild in North Carolina.
Q: If intended parents cannot complete a second-parent adoption, how can unmarried non-biological intended parents protect their parental rights?
A: In North Carolina, partners need to be married to ensure that each has equal parental rights. A non-biological parent can only be granted parental rights through a stepparent adoption or, in some cases, through a surrogacy pre-birth order.
While both parents’ names may be present on the child’s birth certificate, this does not ensure that both parents have the rights associated with being legal parents. A non-biological parent who has raised a child with the consent and encouragement of a legal parent may be able to seek custody, but only a stepparent adoption ensures the parent has all the rights guaranteed under North Carolina law.
If you are an unmarried couple considering surrogacy, it’s highly recommended that you get married before starting this family-building process.
Q: What happens in cases where intended parents use a donor egg, sperm or embryo?
A: While there is no statute or published case law that addresses the rights of a donor over resulting eggs, sperm, embryo or child, there are established procedures that exist to protect the rights of the intended parents and terminate the rights of any donor.
Typically, when a donor uses a gamete bank or fertility clinic, they will consent to the termination of their parental rights for any subsequent child. If you are planning to work with an identified donor, you should contact a North Carolina surrogacy attorney to learn more about what steps need to be taken.
Q: Are there any additional laws impacting same-sex surrogacy in North Carolina?
A: As mentioned, the lack of second-parent adoptions can make surrogacy in North Carolina for unmarried same-sex couples difficult. While the North Carolina Vital Records office will honor a second-parent adoption order from another state to add the second parent to the birth certificate, only married couples who complete a surrogacy in North Carolina are eligible for automatic placement of their names on a North Carolina birth certificate.
There are plenty of surrogacy professionals in North Carolina who can help you begin your personal surrogacy journey. Our specialists at American Surrogacy can always answer whatever questions you have about the surrogacy process, as well as refer you to an appropriate North Carolina surrogacy attorney to learn more about this state’s surrogacy laws. For more information, contact our surrogacy agency today.
State law information provided by:
Amy Wallas Fox
While we have made every effort to provide you with updated and accurate information about North Carolina surrogacy laws, this article should not be taken as legal advice. Surrogacy laws are constantly changing, and the only professional who can give the best guidance when it comes to these surrogacy laws is an experienced surrogacy attorney in North Carolina. Please contact one today for more information.