Although some states in the country do not have laws or restrictions on surrogacy, Arizona is not among them. In Arizona, the laws are clearly defined when it comes to surrogacy. Simply put, it is not legal in the state and there aren’t any contracts that will enforce surrogacy.
Surrogacy contracts are not legal and would not be binding in any way, shape, or form. This presents some major issues for those who are in the state and who are interested in using a surrogate. Let’s get a closer look at some of the things you should know about surrogacy in Arizona.
Is Any Type of Surrogacy in Arizona Legal?
Surrogate parent contracts of any type are illegal in the state including both gestational and traditional. In situations where people may come to their own agreement without a contract, the law states that the surrogate is still the legal mother of the child. If she is married, then her husband is considered the father. This means that surrogacy contracts would not be enforceable. There are some potential ways around this, and the court can order that the intended parents are put on the birth certificate. However, there is always a risk.
If the mother agrees to be a surrogate but then changes her mind, she has the legal right to do so, and there is nothing you can do about it. If you paid the surrogate, she could essentially keep the money and the child since there wouldn’t be a legal, binding contract. Compensated surrogacy can’t be enforced. You don’t have much protection when it comes to surrogacy if you are the intended parent.
Surrogacy Has the Potential to Be Dangerous
Because surrogacy is not legal, they are not enforceable. This means that you don’t have any recourse. If something goes wrong and the parent decides that they will keep the child, there is nothing you could do about it from a legal perspective
Even though surrogacy is not legal or enforceable, there are still attorneys that create memoranda of understanding between a surrogate and those who want a child. The “memoranda of understanding” is not a legal document. Rather, it is simply a formal agreement between the parties involved. It indicates that they have a shared goal.
The document is an agreement between a surrogate, who agrees to carry a child for an individual or a couple. The couple who will be receiving the child is known as the intended parents. It doesn’t truly mean anything though, at least in terms of being enforceable. It’s just trying to get all of the parties on the same page. It doesn’t mean that they will stay on the same page, though.
The goal of these documents is to find ways around the prohibitions in the law regarding surrogacy. However, despite the memoranda being drawn up by an attorney, it doesn’t carry any legal weight along with it. If the mother decides to keep the child, she has every right to do so. If there is a dispute between the parties, it could lead to some serious legal consequences that could end up costing quite a bit.
What About Parentage Orders?
Although surrogacy contracts can’t be enforced in the state due to the law, it is possible for surrogacy attorneys who request that the court declare the parent of a child who is born through gestational surrogacy. Whether those parents can receive the parentage order pre or post-birth will depend on the county where they live. When the parentage order is issued by the judge, a birth certificate will be created with the names of the intended parents on it.
If it is not possible to receive a parentage order before or after birth, the intended parents can instead complete an adoption after the child is born. This is a relatively common way to do it, and once the adoption goes through, you will have more rights, which will be protected.
Other Options to Consider
The rules around surrogacy are complex and the laws are essentially nonexistent. Taking this path and trying to use a surrogate in Arizona can cause more headaches than a lot of people realize. Therefore, you might want to consider some of the other options instead.
Although it might seem to be more convenient to try to find a surrogate located in your city or somewhere else in the state, it tends to be more problematic than it might be worth. Instead, it may be possible to look at the potential to use a surrogate in another state where the laws are different. This can make things substantially easier from a legal perspective, even though it would mean more complications logistically.
Another option might be to find someone that you know, trust, and who is willing to be a surrogate. In those situations, it might work out in your favor because there will be less risk involved. However, even when you know and trust someone, it doesn’t mean that things will always go according to plan. The surrogate could have a change of heart part way through the pregnancy… or when giving birth.
It might also be possible to look at adoption rather than just surrogacy if you want to have a child. This may be an option to consider for some. Take the time to check with adoption agencies throughout the state, other parts of the country, or even other parts of the world. There are always children who need some help from people who will love them and become their parents.
What Should You Do?
If you are interested in having a child through a surrogate, and you live in the state of Arizona, you will want to speak with an attorney. Find a lawyer who has worked on similar cases in the past and who can give you some insight into the best course of action for you to follow. Having some guidance from someone who has helped others in the situation is the best option.