Surrogacy, a form of artificial reproduction, is a fast growing area of the law. In Arkansas, both traditional and gestational surrogacy are allowed. Traditional Surrogacy is where a surrogate mother or carrier uses her egg and is artificially inseminated with the biological father’s sperm or donor sperm. Gestational Surrogacy is where a surrogate mother/carrier is carrying an embryo transferred to her uterus. This can be the sperm and egg of the biological parents, if married, the egg or sperm of a single parent and donated sperm or egg or can be a donated egg and sperm.
There are two phases to the legal portion of the surrogacy process. The first phase is the negotiation and drafting of a contract between the Intended parent(s) and the Surrogate. Sometimes the parties are going through an agency for this process; sometimes it is a private match. Once the contract is completed, the parties move forward with attempted pregnancy. If the pregnancy is successful, then at approximately 20 weeks, 18 if the surrogate is carrying multiples, the intended parent(s) should generally initiate the Pre-Birth Order process. If a Pre-Birth Order (PBO) is obtained, the legal status of the parties is clear to any hospital, birthing center or midwife delivering the baby. Once the PBO is obtained, it is generally a good idea to send a letter with a copy of the PBO to the hospital so that things will go smoothly at birth. This is not always the case though as some hospitals are more friendly to surrogacy births than others. Once the birth occurs, State law requires the birth mother (surrogate) be placed on the birth certificate, but the parties are generally able to use their PBO to obtain a substituted birth certificate with the correct parent(s) name on them. There are some exceptions in certain situations that require a little extra assistance, but those situations can be discussed early on in the surrogacy process if they are applicable to the parties involved.
Please feel free to contact our office at (501) 296-9999 to schedule a free consultation with Heather May if you have any questions about surrogacy, or any other legal issue you may wish to discuss.
- Gestational Surrogacy Law Across the United States (with interactive map)