Surrogacy in North Carolina

somewhat friendly surrogacy icon

Surrogacy in North Carolina is somewhat friendly. The state has no specific laws regarding gestational surrogacy, which means that the procedures and legal results vary greatly by county and judge. Whereas pre-birth orders are given to married Intended Parents, unmarried couples may face some legal hassles given the uncertainty of the state’s legal framework.

surrogacy in North Carolina

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Is Surrogacy Legal in North Carolina?

Surrogacy in North Carolina is neither legal nor illegal. There are no laws in the state that specifically permit or prohibit surrogacy. This lack of clarity means requirements and procedures for surrogacy in North Carolina differ from county to county. Nonetheless, Intended Parents can get a pre-birth order in some cases. In cases where a pre-birth order isn’t granted, Intended Parents will need to use other methods such as adoption to establish their legal rights.

North Carolina permits stepparent adoptions but second-parent adoptions aren’t permitted.

North Carolina Surrogacy Laws at a Glance

Who can get a pre-birth order in North Carolina?

Married heterosexual couple using own egg and own spermYES
Married heterosexual couple using an egg donor or sperm donorYES
Married heterosexual couple using both an egg donor and sperm donorYES

Who can get a pre-birth order in North Carolina?

Who can get a pre-birth order in North Carolina?

Who can get a pre-birth order in North Carolina?


Pre-Birth Orders in North Carolina

Granted by courts, a pre-birth order is a document signed between the intended parents and the surrogate before the child’s birth. Its purpose is to establish the Intended Parents as the child’s legal parents.

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North Carolina courts may grant pre-birth parentage orders in surrogacy cases. Both Intended Parents can be declared the legal parents in a pre-birth order if at least one of them or neither of them is genetically related to the child.

It is very likely that an unmarried heterosexual couple using their own egg and sperm will obtain a pre-birth order. But it’s uncertain if unmarried couples (heterosexual or same-sex couples) can obtain a pre-birth order. Single parents can obtain a pre-birth order even if they’re not biologically related to the child.

Following a pre-birth order, the Intended Parents (or whoever they request) will be named on the birth certificate. Parents can request their surrogate’s name be placed on first BC and then have it changed via post-birth order if she agrees.

A pre-birth order usually takes about 4 weeks from the moment the attorney is hired. A hearing is required, however it is only required for the attorney to attend, intended parents are not required to appear in court.

It is unknown if an egg/sperm donor will have any parental rights over the child since there are no laws addressing it, but it’s likely that donor will not have any parental rights if there was an appropriate donation contract.

Post-Birth Orders in North Carolina

Those who cannot get a pre-birth order can choose to opt for a post-birth order. Laws related to a post-birth order differ from county to county. If there is no pre-birth order, the surrogate is considered the child’s legal mother until a post-birth order is executed. However, since the process can be delayed at times, the Intended Parents may choose other options to get full rights until the post-birth order is granted.

Following a post-birth order, the intended parents will be named on the birth certificate. If intended parents already had a pre-birth order (which is highly recommended in North Carolina) then the post-birth order will usually take 2 weeks from the birth. A hearing is required, but the need for the Intended Parents or their surrogate to attend hearing is dependent on the judge.

If a post-birth order is granted, same-sex couples will be named as Parent/Parent on the final birth certificate. However in small letters it says Father/Parent and Mother/Parent.

A same-sex couple can obtain an initial copy of the birth certificate showing the name of the surrogate and Intended Father as long as the surrogate agrees.


Surrogacy Contracts in North Carolina

Like any other contract in North Carolina, a surrogacy contract is enforceable if both parties agree to and sign the statements within it.

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.

A surrogacy contract, created under the counsel of a surrogacy attorney, is mandatory to complete a surrogacy case in North Carolina. Only a surrogacy attorney can ensure the process is fully legal as the state does not have clear cut surrogacy laws.

Moreover, there should be separate lawyers to represent the surrogate and intended parents. They will help create a contract and discuss the following terms:

  • Emotional and physical liabilities and risks
  • Financial compensation
  • Sensitive issues like termination and selective reduction
  • The responsibilities of each party during, before, and after the process
  • The expectations of each party during, before, and after the process
  • Necessary parentage orders


Best Surrogacy Clinics in North Carolina

A total of 10 fertility clinics offer IVF services in North Carolina and only four of these perform “surrogacy-type” cases on a regular basis.

These can be defined as cases that involve a donor egg and frozen embryo transfers.

Top clinics in the state offer a success rate of 49.07 percent for each embryo transfer. The figure attracts a lot of people as it’s higher than the country’s average of 46.5 percent.

Here are the top three clinics for surrogacy-type cases in North Carolina:



All legal information in the SENSIBLE website is intended only as a guide, and not a replacement for opinions of licensed legal professionals. Some information may have changed since the time of publication, or may not apply to the particular circumstances of your case. Please consult an attorney who is licensed in the jurisdiction with authority over your journey.

About the authors

  • Author: William (Bill) Houghton

    Bill Houghton is the founder of Sensible Surrogacy, author of the Sensible Surrogacy Guide, 2x surrogacy dad, and a dedicated advocate for secure, legal and ethical Gestational Surrogacy. Read Bill's Biography
  • Reviewer: Amy Wallas Fox

    Amy specializes in legal guidance in the areas of adoption, assisted reproductive technologies (including surrogacy) and LGBT family building. Her firm, Claiborne | Fox | Bradley | Goldman, has been assisting traditional and non-traditional families for more than 30 years.

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