What You Need to Know About Surrogacy in Wisconsin

What You Need to Know About Surrogacy in Wisconsin

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Wisconsin Surrogacy Laws and Information

If you’re considering surrogacy in Wisconsin, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are an intended parent or a prospective surrogate, you can complete a surrogacy journey in Wisconsin — and the specialists at American Surrogacy can help.

Surrogacy in Wisconsin is a safe and legally defined family-building process that many intended parents and surrogates have taken advantage of. The enforceability of surrogacy contracts is protected in this state, which means your surrogacy process can be fairly risk-free as long as you work with a surrogacy professional who can represent your rights and interests every step of the way.

While American Surrogacy can always answer your questions about the general aspects of the Wisconsin surrogacy process, we also encourage you to contact a local Wisconsin surrogacy attorney for more information about the legal process of your personal surrogacy journey.

In the meantime, we’ve answered some common questions about surrogacy laws in Wisconsin below.

Q: Is surrogacy legal in Wisconsin?

A: Yes. A 2013 case, In re. the Paternity of F.T.R, concluded that surrogacy contracts are enforceable in this state, unless they are contrary to the child’s best interest. Therefore, surrogacy is legal in Wisconsin today, and intended parents and surrogates in this state can legally reach their personal surrogacy goals together.

Q: Is compensated surrogacy legal in Wisconsin?

A: There are no surrogacy laws in Wisconsin that specifically address a surrogate’s right to receive compensation for her services. However, surrogacy contracts can be enforced, so it would follow that any surrogacy contract detailing a compensated surrogacy is enforceable in a court of law.

Q: Is traditional surrogacy legal in Wisconsin?

A: Yes. In the 2013 published surrogacy case, the Wisconsin court held that a traditional surrogate could not be required to relinquish her parental rights, but that provisions in the contract regarding the child’s custody, placement and visitation can be upheld, so long as they are in the child’s best interest.

However, keep in mind that there are particular risks and complications associated with traditional surrogacy, so always research this path before deciding that it is right for you.

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

A: There are no Wisconsin surrogacy laws that address surrogacy contracts, other than the published case that states they are enforceable when drafted in the child’s best interest. Therefore, it’s assumed that surrogacy contracts in Wisconsin are created through a similar process as in other states.

Both a surrogate and the intended parents must be represented by separate surrogacy lawyers in Wisconsin to ensure their individual rights and interests are properly protected. There will likely be a back-and-forth during the drafting process as both parties create a document they are comfortable with.

Wisconsin surrogacy contracts should address:

  • Each party’s rights and responsibilities during the process
  • Risks and liabilities
  • Surrogate compensation and other financial information
  • Contact expectations before, during and after the surrogacy process
  • A plan for the baby’s delivery

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

A: Yes, Wisconsin surrogacy contracts are enforceable as long as they are in the best interest of the child born via surrogacy.

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

A: In the 2013 case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court declared a parentage agreement in a traditional surrogacy case valid unless enforcement of said agreement would not be in the best interests of the child. Although the court found that the agreement’s termination of parental rights provisions were contrary to Wisconsin law, it determined that the placement and custody provisions were not.

In practice, Wisconsin courts issue temporary parentage orders prior to birth, with the final order issued as a formality immediately following the birth. Courts are favorable to married couples where at least one of the parents has used his or her own gametes.  By the logic of this case, which stressed the applicability of contract law principles, courts presumably will recognize the parentage of unmarried couples and individuals even if there is no genetic link to the child. 

However, like in many states, the availability of these pre-birth orders (also known as “interim” orders) may vary based on the judge and county overseeing the Wisconsin surrogacy case.

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

A: No. All Wisconsin surrogacy laws that apply to domestic intended parents also apply to international intended parents.

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

A: In most Wisconsin surrogacy cases, intended parents can obtain a pre-birth order (with a final order issued after birth), regardless of marital status and genetic relationship. However, in cases where intended parents cannot obtain these orders, an adoption after birth may be necessary.

Speak with a Wisconsin surrogacy attorney to determine what steps will be needed in your personal surrogacy situation.

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

A: Second-parent adoptions are not currently available in Wisconsin. While married couples can complete a stepparent adoption after the birth of a child via surrogacy, unmarried couples (whether opposite-sex or same-sex) cannot establish their parental rights in this way.

Q: If intended parents cannot complete a second parent adoption, how can unmarried non-biological intended parents protect their parental rights?

A: Intended parents must either get married in Wisconsin to obtain a stepparent adoption there, or complete their second-parent adoption in another state. Wisconsin Vital Records will typically honor a second-parent adoption order from another state and update a child’s birth certificate accordingly.

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

A: One Wisconsin assisted reproduction law states that a sperm donor has no parental rights if the donation was provided to a licensed physician for use in artificial insemination. However, there are no case laws that apply this to egg donors.

Most intended parents can obtain a pre-birth order, even if a donor gamete is used, but it’s always recommended you speak with a surrogacy lawyer in Wisconsin to learn more about the legalities of your individual situation.

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

A: No. While same-sex marriage was illegal prior to 2014 in Wisconsin (and greatly affected LGBT intended parents), there are no additional laws for LGBT intended parents in Wisconsin today.

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If you are ready to start your surrogacy in Wisconsin, please contact the surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy today. Our surrogacy professionals can guide you through every step of your surrogacy process with the case management and support services you need, as well as connect you with a local surrogacy attorney in Wisconsin to represent your rights and interests.

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

Surrogacy laws in Wisconsin are always subject to change, and American Surrogacy makes no guarantee that the information presented in this article is accurate to the changing legislative scene. This article is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice; please contact a local surrogacy attorney for more information about the current legal state of surrogacy in Wisconsin.