“Surrogacy” or “surrogate” means “substitute.” In medical terminology, surrogacy indicates an arrangement whereby a woman agrees to have an embryo transferred to her uterus, to undergo a full-term pregnancy, to deliver the child or children, and to turn the child or children over to others. The surrogacy option is considered by those who either cannot become pregnant or those who, for one reason or another, choose not to.
The legal aspects of surrogacy are very complex and mostly unsettled. There is a default legal assumption in most countries that the woman giving birth to a child is that child's legal mother. In some jurisdictions the possibility of surrogacy has been allowed and the intended parents may be recognized as the legal parents from birth. Some states now issue pre-birth orders through the courts placing the name(s) of the intended parent(s) on the birth certificate from the start. In others the possibility of surrogacy is either not recognized (all contracts specifying different legal parents are void), or is prohibited.
A “Gestational Carrier Agreement” is a written agreement, outlining the terms under which a surrogate agrees to carry a child for others. Such agreements identify the parties to the agreement. They carefully outline the parties’ intentions, including compensation to be paid to the surrogate, and financial obligations for maternity clothes, travel costs, uninsured medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses.
North Dakota statutes approve of Gestational Carrier Agreements, but only when the surrogate agrees to carry the biological child of the intended parents. It disapproves agreements where the surrogate agrees to give the child to non-biological parents.
Minnesota law is silent about Gestational Carrier Agreements. Nevertheless, people enter into such agreements in Minnesota. However, because of the legal silence, they must formalize their parental relationship with their child through more traditional processes (eg., filing a Recognition of Paternity and completing an adoption).
Click Here for “additional resources” to learn more.
The information on this site is general in nature. Do not rely on any articles, postings or other information on these pages as legal advice. If you need legal advice about a particular matter, you should contact an attorney directly.