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Surrogacy in San Francisco


A surrogate is a woman who carries a child for another woman or a couple. Surrogacy is fertility treatment for women who cannot conceive or cannot carry a pregnancy to term.

If you are considering surrogacy, you have two options. The first is called traditional surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy the carrier is inseminated with sperm, which fertilizes her own eggs. In this case, the child will be genetically related to the surrogate. Your second option is to use a gestational surrogate. Many couples prefer this option, since the surrogate would not be related to the child. The surrogate would be implanted with an embryo, created from the intended parents' egg and sperm and/or donor egg and sperm.

It is common for a woman or a couple to ask friends or family members to serve as a surrogate. However, many do not feel comfortable asking this. In that case, a surrogacy agency or fertility clinic can match prospective parents with a potential surrogate.

Surrogacy Laws in California

Like many states, California does not have a specific statutes that deals specifically with surrogacy. However, the state does accept the validity of surrogacy agreements.

California interprets the issue of surrogacy agreements through its Uniform Parentage Act. The 1993 California Supreme Court Case Johnson v. Calvert determined that intended parents in a gestational surrogacy agreement, in which the surrogates eggs were not used, are considered the resulting child’s natural and legal parents. Since the intended mother provided her eggs for the surrogacy, the courts determined that she had the intention to procreate, so should be considered the legal mother.

The 1998 case, In re Marriage of Buzzanca, took on an even more complex surrogacy case. In this case, a gestational surrogate conceived through an anonymous egg and sperm donation. Six people could have had the potential to be considered legal parents: the intended mother, the intended father, the sperm donor, the egg donor, the surrogate, and the husband of the surrogate. The court ruled that if a married couple intends to have a child by implanting a non-genetically related embryo in a surrogate, they would be considered the lawful parents of the child.

Further court rulings have been in favor of gay and lesbian parents. The 2005 California Supreme Court companion case, Elisa B. v. Superior Court, Kristine H. v Lisa R. and K.M. v. E.G. ruled that two women can be considered the legal parents of a child born through surrogacy.

San Francisco Surrogacy Agencies

Surrogacy agencies are helpful because they match up intended parents with surrogates. Before the surrogacy process begins, surrogacy agencies require rigorous physical and emotional screenings for the surrogate, to make sure she is right for the process.

The following San Francisco surrogacy agencies are resources for intended parents in the area:

  • Family Fertility Center
  • The Surrogacy SOURCE
  • Woman to Woman Fertility Center

Surrogacy is considered the most legally complex of the assisted reproductive options. Make sure you research your surrogacy agency before committing to it. And before the actual process begins, it is helpful to retain the services of a lawyer who has experience with surrogacy arrangements. She can help draft contracts and ensure the rights of all involved are protected.