Surrogacy in Pennsylvania

Surrogacy in Pennsylvania is considered “Somewhat Friendly.” Although there is no explicit case law or legislation, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has struck down lower-court decisions that deny surrogacy contracts and Intended Parents’ rights. But in absence of legislation, the availability of parental orders still varies throughout the state.surrogacy in Pennsylvania 1

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Is Surrogacy Legal in Pennsylvania?

There are no statutes or published case law specifically permitting or prohibiting surrogacy in Pennsylvania. However, there is unpublished case law that permits surrogacy. It may be possible to obtain a pre-birth order in certain counties and in certain scenarios, but results vary substantially by county and by judge. Post-birth adoptions, whether by stepparent or second parent, are also available in Pennsylvania.
 

Pennsylvania Surrogacy Laws at a Glance

Can married couples get a pre-birth order in Pennsylvania?

QuestionAnswer
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

Can unmarried couples get a pre-birth order in Pennsylvania?

Can LGBT+ couples get a pre-birth order in Pennsylvania?

Can single parents get a pre-birth order in Pennsylvania?

 

Pre-Birth Orders in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania courts grant pre-birth orders but the results vary greatly by county and facts. Some more conservative judges will not grant pre-birth declarations.

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A pre-birth order is an agreement that the surrogate mother and the intended parents sign before the child is born. The document declares that the intended parents are the legal parents of the child. With a pre-birth order, the birth certificate is immediately issued with the names of the Intended Parents with no additional court proceedings needed.

Both Intended Parents can be declared the legal parents in a pre-birth order where one or even neither parent is genetically related to the child. Pre-birth orders can be granted if the parents are both single or coupled, married or unmarried, gay or straight, or even when using an egg or sperm donor, but then again, results vary greatly by county.

Following a pre-birth order, both parents, genetic or intended will be named on the birth certificate.

A hearing may be required to obtain a pre-birth order, depending on the judge or county the pre-birth order was filed in. If a hearing is required, the judge will most likely require all parties involved to appear in court, which would include the intended parents.

If a pre-birth order is granted, an initial copy of the birth certificate showing the name of the surrogate and Intended Father would not be possible under Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines.

An egg/sperm donor does not have any parental rights over the child, rights would be terminated in an agreement prior to the surrogate becoming pregnant.
 

Post-Birth Orders in Pennsylvania

Not all states allow parents to file a pre-birth order early; some issue an order only after the baby is born. These “post-birth orders” are usually filed in the week after the birth of the baby.

Even in cases where you file a pre-birth order, it will not become effective until after the baby is born — just like a post-birth order. The processes for pre-birth and post-birth orders are similar, so the differences between the two options (besides the time of filing) are often insignificant.

Pennsylvania courts grant post-birth orders in surrogacy cases. Both Intended Parents can be declared the legal parents in a post-birth order where one or even neither parent is genetically related to the child. Post-birth orders can be granted if the parents are both single or coupled, married or unmarried, gay or straight, or even when using an egg or sperm donor.

Both intended parents will be named on the birth certificate following a post-birth order. A hearing is most often not required and intended parents are not required to appear in court.

If an order is granted, same-sex couples will be named as Parent/Parent on the final birth certificate. The Pennsylvania Department of Health does not allow a same-sex couple to obtain an initial copy of the birth certificate showing the name of the surrogate and Intended Father.

An egg/sperm donor does not have any parental rights over the child, rights would be terminated in an agreement prior to the surrogate becoming pregnant.

 

Surrogacy Contracts in Pennsylvania

Surrogacy contracts are enforceable in a court of law in Pennsylvania. A surrogacy agreement in Pennsylvania is like a surrogacy contract in any other state. This legal document addresses all potential risks and liabilities of the surrogacy process, as well as expectations and responsibilities for both parties of the surrogacy.
Both intended parents and prospective surrogates will need to work with separate surrogacy attorneys in Pennsylvania to draft this document, which will cover things like:

  • Surrogate compensation
  • A surrogate’s health and prenatal care during pregnancy
  • Agreement on sensitive issues, such as termination
  • Social information and contact expectations
  • Steps to establish the intended parents’ rights
  • And more

Once both intended parents and surrogate are comfortable with the terms of the surrogacy contract, it will be finalized and signed. After that, the medical process of surrogacy will begin.
 


Best Surrogacy Clinics in Pennsylvania

There are 14 fertility clinics in Pennsylvania currently reporting data about IVF cases. Of these, there are 7 clinics that regularly perform “surrogacy-type” IVF cases. Surrogacy cases are those using a donor egg and frozen embryo transfers, which is the most common procedure in a surrogacy journey.

The top IVF clinics in Pennsylvania have an average success rate of about 44.8% for each embryo transfer according to data reported by the Centers for Disease Control. That compares with 46.5% as the national average, which makes Pennsylvania a reasonable destination for a surrogacy journey in the United States.

Of the clinics performing surrogacy-type services, one reports live-birth rates above the national average.

 


Frequent Questions about Surrogacy in Pennsylvania

Is surrogacy in Pennsylvania legal?

Surrogacy in Pennsylvania is somewhat friendly. Although there is no explicit case law or legislation, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has struck down lower-court decisions that deny surrogacy contracts and intended parents’ rights. But in absence of legislation, the availability of parental orders still varies throughout the state.

In which US states is surrogacy legal?

Surrogacy is legal and supported in almost all U.S. states, with only five with explicit laws forbidding surrogacy agreements. Even among 'unfriendly' states, surrogacy is often still possible, but there are legal obstacles to navigate to ensure your parental rights. Check out SENSIBLE's ratings of friendly surrogacy destinations in the U.S. and worldwide.

Are pre-birth orders possible in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania courts grant pre-birth orders in surrogacy cases. Both Intended Parents can be declared the legal parents in a pre-birth order where one or even neither parent is genetically related to the child. Pre-birth orders can be granted if the parents are both single or coupled, married or unmarried, gay or straight, or even when using an egg or sperm donor.

Are surrogacy contracts valid in Pennsylvania?

Surrogacy contracts are enforceable in a court of law in Pennsylvania. A surrogacy agreement in Pennsylvania is like a surrogacy contract in any other state. This legal document addresses all potential risks and liabilities of the surrogacy process, as well as expectations and responsibilities for both parties of the surrogacy.

How much does surrogacy cost in Pennsylvania?

The average cost of surrogacy ranges from $120,000 to $150,000 in the United States, but low-cost options start at less than $100,000. Overseas surrogacy costs as little as $50,000 in Eastern Europe or South America, to $80,000 in Western countries like the UK, Greece or Canada.

How much do surrogates earn?

SENSIBLE surrogate mothers make $50,000 to $70,000 for a surrogacy journey in the United States. The surrogate's total pay is separated into 'Base Salary' and 'Benefits'. Benefits usually include a monthly living stipend, maternity clothes, travel expenses, and other fees.

 

LEGAL DISCLAIMER
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 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: Melissa Brisman

    Melissa has been a pioneer in the field of reproductive law. Since 1996, she has drafted legislation and argued before State Supreme courts, setting the laws and protecting families and children born through assisted reproduction. Melissa can be reached through her firm, ReproductiveLawyer.com.

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