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Surrogacy and Artificial Conception

Welcome to the Surrogacy and Artificial Conception Laws section of FindLaw's Family Law Center. This section covers issues related to conceiving or carrying children to term outside of the traditional method. Fortunately for many prospective parents with fertility difficulties, advances in medicine have allowed these parents-to-be to consider alternatives to natural child conception and pregnancy. However, these technological advances have brought a whole host of new legal and ethical issues that the following articles address.

For example, how does the law treat a surrogate mother who carries a child to term, but then changes her mind and decides she wants to keep the child? Have the prospective parents unlawfully tried to purchase a child? Has the surrogate committed the crime of fraud? The facts of each non-traditional parenting case are unique. This section contains information on the relevant fertility and surrogacy laws, such as who has custody of embryos, the rights of donors and surrogates, and why using an attorney when arranging for the services of a surrogate mother can be helpful.

Surrogacy Law

Surrogacy is when a woman carries an implanted embryo to birth or otherwise has a baby for a person or couple other than herself. Surrogacy law can be complicated and varies by state. This section provides information and tools, such as a surrogacy contract checklist and a surrogacy application questionnaire. These tools can help with the finding and hiring of a surrogate, as well as the drafting of a contract to carry a baby for another person. Whether you are the prospective parent(s) or surrogate, you may want a lawyer involved to make sure the agreement is enforceable in your state.

Artificial Conception

Artificial conception is any practice, such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, that involves non-traditional conception. As many of these practices involve medical procedures, health care law and medical malpractice can arise in these situations. For prospective parents considering artificial conception, a thoughtful examination of the medical and legal options through various infertility services and procedures can lead to less heartache down the road. This section includes topics like the storage and destruction of unused embryos and provides tools such as questions to ask infertility services and a sample intake form that can help when meeting with an attorney to discuss surrogacy and artificial conception options.

Family Law Related to Surrogacy and Artificial Conception

In the event of a divorce or separation, child custody, visitation, and other family law matters may come up. These matters are made more difficult when paternity or who the legal father is hasn’t been established. When the surrogacy or artificial insemination was conduct using a donor’s sperm, who the legal father is could be brought into question. These problems are addressed in the articles below.

Additionally, same-sex couples using artificial insemination may be concerned about the marriage and adoption laws relating to gay and lesbian couples in their state. These topics are available elsewhere on

Additional Resources

Parents-to-be reviewing this section may also be interested in the adoption and foster care information also available on Adoption can also be a great way to build or expand your family.

Whether you are just starting the journey to becoming a parent or have been trying for some time, you may need the help of an experienced attorney to ensure smooth sailing. An attorney can make sure the ethical and legal hurdles of your surrogacy, artificial insemination, or in vitro fertilization are surmountable obstacles.