In the wake of the legalization of same sex marriage in Michigan, there are a vast number of gay and lesbian couples who were finally allowed to walk down the aisle together and declare their lifelong love for one another. But as the old playground song explains, “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…” Yes, guessed it, “a baby in a carriage.”
For many gay couples, this can present an entirely new battery of complications. So let’s look at a few facts about surrogacy in Michigan that you may not have known about. If this is something you and your spouse are considering, you can make better informed decisions in the future.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for the couple who want to have a child. Surrogacy is usually selected as an option by intended parents because either a medical condition makes pregnancy dangerous or impossible, or the couple is a gay couple.
Are there different types of surrogacy?
Yes, there are two different types of surrogacy, namely traditional and gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is more common, and refers a pregnancy resulting from a child that is conceived via artificial insemination. For heterosexual couples, the surrogate mother is usually also the biological mother. In cases where the intended parents are two women, a sperm donor is used. For a couple consisting of two men, one of the men usually provides the sperm donation and a woman volunteers to carry the child to term.
What does Michigan law say about surrogacy?
Michigan law recognizes surrogacy in two forms: commercial and altruistic. Commercial surrogacy refers to instances where the surrogate is paid a fee to bear and deliver the child. In addition, the adoptive couple also covers any and all of the expenses incurred as a result of the pregnancy and the birth.
In an Altruistic Surrogacy arrangement, the surrogate mother is essentially offering to carry the child as a kindness. She is therefore only reimbursed for the expenses she incurred as a result of the pregnancy. But beyond that, she takes no payment, and does not charge the parents a gestational or birthing fee.
Under Michigan law, commercial surrogacy is illegal. Only altruistic surrogacy is recognized as a legal option for couples hoping to have a child via a surrogate. According to state law “all surrogacy agreements, regardless of the sexual orientation of the individuals involved, are prohibited by law in Michigan.” Which means that if a couple attempts to hire a woman to carry and birth their child, they will pay dearly for that choice if they are caught. Unfortunately, this includes losing their child.
Join us next time as we continue this discussion about surrogacy in Michigan, and outline what your options are as a same-sex couple in Michigan.