What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy can be a welcome solution for couples/individuals who want to welcome a child into their family but cannot (or, for whatever reason, do not want to) actually carry a child for nine (9) months. These couples/individuals work closely with a “Surrogate Mother.”
A Surrogate Mother is a woman who agrees to carry and, ultimately, give birth to a child resulting from artificial insemination or the implantation of an already fertilized egg. What does this mean? Basically, the child will either be related to the Father and the Surrogate Mother (artificial insemination) or the child will be related to both the Father and Mother, but not the Surrogate Mother (implantation).
Once the child is born, the Surrogate Mother surrenders any parental rights to the child in favor of the couple/individual. This is important, even in cases where the Surrogate Mother is not biologically related to the child (Implantation). Why? Because Minnesota Law presumes that the woman who gives birth to a child is also the biological mother of that child (in a typical situation, not a huge jump to make). The intended parent(s) to the child will then need to take steps to ensure that they are established as the legal parents, typically through a paternity/maternity action or an adoption.
What does Minnesota Law say about surrogacy?
Bottom line: nothing. Or, nothing yet.
Minnesota does not have a specific surrogacy law. However, it is important for intended parent(s) and the Surrogate Mother to enter into a private contract to clearly outline expectations and protect the rights of everyone involved.
In December 2016, the Legislative Commission on Surrogacy issued its final recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature on ways to regulate Surrogacy. Keep in mind, these are recommendations and do not have to be followed by the Legislature when writing the law.
The recommendations include, but are not limited to, prohibiting fees paid to surrogate mothers (beyond medical fees), require that a child be biologically related to at least one intended parent, and that both the Surrogate Mother and the intended parents undergo both psychological evaluations and criminal background checks. Additionally, both surrogate mothers and the intended parents must have individual legal representation.
So, what should couples/individuals do in the meantime if they plan to pursue Surrogacy? First, consult with an attorney about your specific situation. Second, enter into a private contract that at least considers the recommendations above (as there is a chance this will be the law in the future).
If you are unsure about how to proceed, or simply have a question, please, contact us today to schedule your free consultation. You can call me at 651-647-0087 or reach out via our online contact form.