Surrogacy in Pennsylvania: What You Need to Know

Surrogacy allows couples and individuals to start or grow their families when natural and other means of reproduction fails. This form of assisted reproduction is common in Pennsylvania and other states in the US. However, besides the overwhelming medical procedure, the laws guiding surrogacy are quite complex.

If you intend to build your family via a surrogate, this article can enlighten you on the legal process. It’s also advisable to discuss with family lawyers Norristown PA, who are familiar with surrogacy laws.

Surrogacy Laws in Pennsylvania

In 2006, a superior court in Pennsylvania overturned a lower court’s judgment on the legality of surrogacy in the state. This ruling set a standard and made it legal for families and individuals to have children via a surrogate.

However, the court didn’t set any specific state laws to govern the process. Instead, intending parents must adhere to federal surrogacy laws. Therefore, families might need to work with surrogate professionals such as family lawyers in Norristown, PA, to avoid legal issues.

Gestational VS Traditional Surrogacy

Pennsylvania practices the two types of surrogacy; gestational and traditional surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy is the most common, and it involves in vitro fertilization of another person’s sperm and egg into the surrogate mother. Therefore, the fetus and surrogate won’t have any biological relationship.

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate becomes pregnant using her eggs, via intrauterine insemination. This kind of surrogacy isn’t widespread due to its associated legal and emotional risks. Since the surrogate is the fetus’s biological mother, she has the standing to seek custody, leading to a complex legal issue. Because of its risk, many surrogacy agencies won’t offer this service.

Traditional surrogacy has similar regulations as adoption. The biological mother will need to terminate her parental rights before the other party can become parents to the child. Likewise, the intending parents must take specific legal steps after birth to establish parental rights. Due to these regulations, pre-birth orders and surrogacy compensations are against the law.

On the other hand, gestational surrogacy laws are more specific and have lesser risks. Intending parents can minimize potential legal issues by establishing legal and emotional roles from the beginning. The surrogate won’t have the right to seek custody. Furthermore, it’s acceptable for the surrogate to obtain compensation for her services.

Surrogacy Contract

In gestational surrogacy, intending parents and surrogates will have to sign a legal contract before taking any medical actions. This document addresses the potential risks and liabilities of the process and expectations of each party.

When drafting the contract, both surrogate and parents will have separate attorneys to represent their legal interests. If both sides agree to the terms, they’ll sign and finalize the agreement and begin the medical process.


While surrogacy is legal in Pennsylvania, no rules guide the process, as you’ll find in some states. If you’re an intending parent, you must follow the federal surrogacy laws. Schedule a consultation with top family lawyers in Norristown, PA, to learn more about the legal aspect of surrogacy.