How Surrogacy Laws Have Changed Over Time

Surrogacy has been around a long time, even before lawyers and law. Before legal agreements, the rich and powerful could find servants, slaves, and commoners and simply request that they be a Surrogate for them in cases where their wives could not get pregnant (even though it wasn’t always the wife’s fault). 

Thankfully, the world has changed and the ideas surrounding surrogacy have changed as well. Today, there are plenty of laws in place to help protect everyone involved in surrogacy, including the Surrogate Mother, Intended Parents, babies, and even the surrogacy agency.

If you are interested in becoming a parent through surrogacy or in being a Surrogate, contact EDSI today.

Surrogacy Laws: A Timeline

Surrogacy laws have changed and been refined as surrogacy continues to change lives. Sometimes this is because of lawsuits and other times it is because of experiences and situations. There have been laws at a national level in the United States as well as at the state level for most states.

Noel Keane Sets The Precedent

In 1976, Noel Keane negotiated and drafted the first agreement between a Surrogate Mother and Intended Parents. This situation used traditional surrogacy, where the Surrogate used her own eggs. The Surrogate was not compensated. 

Noel Keane helped over 600 children be born over his career and is seen as one of the forefathers of surrogacy laws.

Surrogacy Goes Legal

Keane’s work opens up surrogacy legality in the 1980s. More and more surrogacy contracts were signed but unfortunately, they were still unenforceable in many cases due to weak state laws.

During this time, Elizabeth Kane became the first legally compensated Surrogate in the United States through a traditional surrogacy. She was paid $11,500.

Baby M Creates Speedbumps

“Baby M” was born in 1986 to a couple using traditional surrogacy, the father’s sperm, and $10,000 in compensation. When the child was born, the Surrogate did not want to give the baby to the Intended Parents. She tried to keep the baby, resulting in a lengthy custody battle. 

This case pushed for more laws around surrogacy and better regulations. Eventually, these types of fights would lead the way to surrogacy as we know it today: gestational surrogacy, where the Surrogate Mother is not biologically related to the mother.

Johnson v. Calvert 

One of the most important cases in gestational surrogacy history is Johnson v. Calvert. In this case, the Gestational Carrier had no biological connection to the baby. The court sided with the Intended Parents.  After this case, more people felt safe trying to become parents through surrogacy.

Today’s Surrogacy Laws & Where We Have To Go

Even though surrogacy is more protected than ever, and most states have laws around surrogacy, there are still fights. One of the biggest fights in the next few years is whether or not we will get the national legalization of surrogacy. Surrogacy agencies continue to educate and motivate lawmakers to push for national laws to help protect Surrogates, Intended Parents, and babies.

Ready To Start Your Surrogacy Journey? Contact Us Today

If you want to be a Surrogate or become a parent, finding the right fit in a surrogacy agency can be quite difficult, and as this is a big decision to make, taking all the time you need to make those decisions is imperative. We are here for you whenever you make that choice. We are happy to give you more information now or schedule your consultation.

Surrogacy is an extremely rewarding experience that will change your life forever. If you are ready to get started on the surrogacy process, make sure to contact us today.



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