What You Need to Know About Surrogacy in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Surrogacy Laws and Information

Intended parents and surrogates considering surrogacy in Rhode Island should always understand surrogacy laws in this state before starting. Let American Surrogacy's experts help.

If you’re considering surrogacy in Rhode Island, don’t let the lack of surrogacy laws dissuade you — Rhode Island is actually a fairly surrogacy-friendly state where many intended parents and surrogates have made their surrogacy dreams come true.

Like many other states with no surrogacy laws, Rhode Island has an established precedent for completing surrogacies here. Unlike in other states, all Rhode Island surrogacy cases are heard by one judge, which means the legal results for intended parents and surrogates are consistent across the state.

An experienced surrogacy attorney in Rhode Island is the best professional from which to learn more about the current state of surrogacy here, and American Surrogacy encourages all prospective surrogates and intended parents to contact one before getting started. In the meantime, you can learn more about surrogacy laws in Rhode Island below.

Q: Is surrogacy legal in Rhode Island?

A: Currently, there are no surrogacy laws in Rhode Island. However, all Rhode Island surrogacy cases are heard by the Chief Judge of Family Court in Providence, which means there is a great deal of consistency in what is approved and not approved for intended parents and surrogates. Therefore, by working with a Rhode Island surrogacy attorney knowledgeable in the recent court decisions, surrogacy can be a safe and legal process.

Q: Is compensated surrogacy legal in Rhode Island?

A: Yes. There are no surrogacy laws in Rhode Island prohibiting a gestational surrogate receiving base compensation for her services, so it’s assumed that commercial surrogacy is legal.

Q: Is traditional surrogacy legal in Rhode Island?

A: The answer to this is unclear. While there are no surrogacy laws in Rhode Island prohibiting the practice of traditional surrogacy, prior decisions by the Chief Judge indicate that any compensation to a traditional surrogate may be illegal. A traditional surrogate may also be treated similar to a prospective birth mother under Rhode Island law and may be subject to a waiting period before giving her adoption consent (in Rhode Island, 15 days after the birth of the child).

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

A: Because there are no surrogacy laws in Rhode Island, there are no strict regulations as to the creation of a Rhode Island surrogacy contract. That said, surrogacy attorneys in Rhode Island will all follow the same steps in creating a legal contract that equally protects the rights and interests of each party.

Intended parents and surrogates must obtain separate Rhode Island surrogacy lawyers to represent them through this legal process. These lawyers will learn more about each party’s surrogacy goals and expectations and negotiate a contract that both parties are comfortable with. This contract will include important information like:

  • The rights and responsibilities of both parties
  • The potential risks and liabilities for both parties
  • Agreement on sensitive issues like selective reduction and termination
  • Surrogate compensation and other financial information, like surrogacy insurance
  • How the intended parents will establish their parental rights
  • And more

Once this surrogacy contract is complete, you and your surrogacy partner will be able to begin the medical process of surrogacy in Rhode Island.

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

A: This is unclear. The Chief Judge reviews every surrogacy case in Rhode Island, which means he or she will determine whether the contents of a Rhode Island surrogacy contract are enforceable or not.

Remember, a surrogacy attorney will guide you through the creation of your contract and can better explain this legal aspect.

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

A: Based on recent decisions by the Chief Judge of Family Court, Rhode Island may grant parentage declarations before birth to married couples, unmarried couples and individuals — even if they have no genetic link to the baby being born via surrogacy.

Because all surrogacy cases are overseen by the same judge, the availability of pre-birth parentage orders is consistent in Rhode Island and usually very favorable to all intended parents completing a gestational surrogacy.

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

A: No. There are no surrogacy laws in Rhode Island that specifically apply to international intended parents.

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

A: Typically, intended parents in a Rhode Island surrogacy can obtain a parentage order, and an adoption will not be necessary to establish their parental rights. However, always seek legal counsel from an experienced local attorney to determine what steps will be required in your personal journey.

For example, intended parents from Rhode Island who complete a surrogacy in another state and can’t obtain a parentage order may need to complete an adoption after birth.

Q: Does Rhode Island 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 to intended parents in a Rhode Island surrogacy. Any unmarried intended parent could complete a second-parent adoption, if necessary, while married intended parents would complete a stepparent adoption after birth.

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

A: The use of a donor gamete in a surrogacy usually has no effect on the rights of intended parents in Rhode Island. As mentioned above, the Chief Judge overseeing Rhode Island surrogacy cases has in practice granted pre-birth parentage orders regardless of the use of a donor gamete.

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

A: No. LGBT intended parents are not subject to any additional surrogacy laws in Rhode Island that other intended parents are not subject to as well.


Want to learn more about surrogacy in Rhode Island? The specialists at American Surrogacy can always answer whatever questions you have about the general process of surrogacy and refer you to a trusted local surrogacy attorney for the best legal guidance. We welcome intended parents and surrogates in Rhode Island, and we’re happy to provide case management and support services through every step of your surrogacy journey.

For more information about our agency program, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Rhode Island surrogacy laws are always subject to change, so please contact a local Rhode Island surrogacy attorney for more information on the current state of surrogacy here. This article should not be taken as legal advice.