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Surrogacy in Massachusetts
Surrogacy is a type of assisted reproductive technology in which a woman carries a child for a couple who is unable to conceive or sustain a pregnancy. There are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is inseminated with the sperm from the male partner. This makes the child biologically related to the surrogate.
In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is implanted with a fertilized egg, which comes from the couple or another donor. In this type of surrogacy, the child is not biologically related to the surrogate.
Many times, a surrogate is personally known to the couples, such as a relative or friend. A surrogate can also be matched through an agency.
Surrogacy Laws in Massachusetts
While Massachusetts laws do not directly address surrogacy, recent court cases have ruled favorably upon surrogacy contracts. The 1998 case R.R v. M.H., 689 N.E.2d 790 found that a surrogacy contract is valid as long as the surrogate mother’s consent to the surrogacy lasts until four days after the birth and the surrogate receives no compensation.
The case also developed other criteria in order to enforce a surrogacy contract: the surrogate mother’s husband must give informed consent in advance, the surrogate mother must be an adult with at least one successful pregnancy, all those involved must be evaluated psychologically, the intended mother must be unable to bear a child due to health reasons, and the intended parents must be suitable to raise the child. The law also stipulates that all involved have access to counsel.
The law also states that custody is dependent upon judicial determination in the best interest of the child.
More recently, the 2001 case Culliton v. Beth Israel Deaconess Med. Ctr. found that the genetic parents of a child born by gestational surrogacy could be listed as parents on the child’s birth certificate. In order for this to occur, the baby had to be the biological child of both, the surrogate must agree with the orders, and no one, including the hospital, contested the complaint.
Boston Area Surrogacy Agencies
There are several organizations in the Boston area that specialize in surrogacy for individuals or couples unable to conceive. These programs match up intended parents with surrogates, and require the surrogate to undergo rigorous psychological and physical tests. Also, some agencies work specifically with same sex couples.
- AtoZ Consulting, Burlington, MA
- Center for Surrogacy and Egg Donation, Inc. (CSED, Inc.), Southborough, MA
- Choice Surrogacy, Needham, MA
- Circle Surrogacy, Boston, MA
- Northeast Assisted Fertility Group, Boston, MA
- The Surrogacy SOURCE, Boston, MA
Before choosing a surrogacy agency to begin the process, it is important to research each agency thoroughly to get a good idea of fees and other responsibilities. Because surrogacy is often considered the most complex assisted reproductive technology, since a third party is involved, it is recommended you retain the services of an attorney who specializes in surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology issues.