Perez Hilton welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Mia Alma this weekend through surrogacy. The Cuban-American celebrity gossip columnist already has a 2-year-old son. “The dream of being a parent is something that many Americans share. Gay AND straight Americans both use surrogacy to start to add to their families. Yet it many states, surrogacy is illegal,” he stated on his website.
Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for a couple or an individual that wants a child. Typically donor sperm can be used for traditional surrogacy or In Vitro Fertilization can be used to place the embryo into the uterus of a gestational surrogate.
Unfortunately, only 17 states in the U.S. have laws that allow surrogacy, and each state has their own restrictions. In 21 other states there’s either no law or a published case regarding surrogacy. In 5 states surrogacy contracts are void and unenforceable.
About 10% of women or approximately 6 million women in the U.S. ages 15-44 have difficulty staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another third of the program is due to men as well.
It’s a very common problem and often people that want to have a child and want to get a surrogate have to travel abroad or to a different state because of the different laws that occur where they live.
States like California allow anyone to hire a woman to carry the baby and have the birth certificate with the names of the intended parents. While in other states like Washington D.C. where surrogacy can carry criminal penalties. States like Illinois require medical and psychological screenings before a contract is signed. Even the Catholic Church opposes surrogacy and sees it as an experiment that can have long-term effects. They also oppose same-sex couples to have to children.
Regardless of the restrictions it’s important to contact your doctor and learn about the laws and restrictions that exist in the state you live in. Also if you’re traveling abroad for a surrogacy, make sure you meet all the legal restrictions back home so you don’t confront any problems upon your return.