This blog post specifically addresses gestational surrogacy law in Pennsylvania, and why Pennsylvania has been a surrogacy friendly state for many years. You may have heard the fact that each state in the United States has different surrogacy laws. This is true. In some states it is much “safer” to proceed with a surrogacy. Indeed, in multiple states such contracts are unenforceable and/or illegal. Fortunately, gestational carrier surrogacy contracts are valid and enforceable in Pennsylvania. Although there are no statutory laws on the books (through legislative action) about assisted reproduction, the appellate courts in Pennsylvania have spoken very clearly and forcefully about the validity of gestational carrier/surrogacy contracts. Contracts where the gestational surrogate has no genetic connection to the child are governed by the intentions of the parties. Thus, part of our job is to protect our clients to make sure the contracts are very detailed, addressing a myriad of possibilities as events unfold during a pregnancy. Pennsylvania fertility clinics are careful to make sure contracts are fully executed by all the parties, PRIOR to any embryo transfer. Pennsylvania judges have held that the contract is the bedrock of the arrangement so of course the quality of the contract is paramount.
Also crucial, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has an long standing process for establishng the legal parentage of a child born in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that came about using a Gestational Carrier Agreement. In most Pennsylvania counties, an Orphans Court Judge, in conjunction with paperwork from the Department of Health, will sign an Order of Court PRIOR to the child’s birth determining the parents of the child. As a direct result of the Order, the Intended Parents will be listed on the baby’s ORIGINAL birth certificate. What a comfort for the Intended Parents to have this detail resolved so efficiently!
Finally, Pennsylvania hospitals have been exceptionally efficient and cooperative in welcoming the Gestational Surrogate and Intended Parents. From coordinating the various health insurance plans to completing proper paperwork so that the directives in the Pre-birth Order are properly followed, the majority of Pennsylvania hospitals are ready to make the hospital time pleasant and smooth.
We hope you will contact us, should you wish to either act as a Gestational Surrogate or are hopeful Intended Parents. With Warm Regards, Denise