GESTATIONAL SURROGACY LAW MISSOURI
There are no statutes or published case law specifically permitting or prohibiting surrogacy in Missouri; therefore, it is considered legal and many intended parents have been successful in pursuing surrogacy to build their families.
Although the following guide can give you a better understanding of the general rules and regulations of surrogacy in Missouri, it is not meant to be used as legal advice. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney to guide you through your unique journey.
Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about surrogacy in Missouri.
Is Gestational Surrogacy Legal in Missouri?
Yes. While there is no specific statute or case law addressing surrogacy; therefore, it is considered legal.
Is Traditional Surrogacy Legal in Missouri?
Yes. Traditional Surrogacy agreements are permitted in Missouri, but the non-biological parent may be subject to adoption-related restrictions such as a six-month waiting period and criminal background checks. If the Intended Father is genetically linked to the child, the traditional surrogate and the Intended Father complete a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, which allows the Intended Father’s name to go directly onto the birth certificate. The Intended Mother may then file a parentage action or adoption (not recommended) or some hybrid of the two.
Although there are no specific traditional surrogacy laws in Missouri to legally prohibit this method of surrogacy, there are increased legal risks associated with traditional surrogacy for all parties. This, along with the emotional complexities associated with traditional surrogacy, has made gestational surrogacy the preferred method for both intended parents and surrogates.
Is Compensated Surrogacy Legal in Missouri?
Yes. Compensated surrogacy is legal in Missouri; this is something that is established when the surrogacy contract between surrogates and intended parents is drafted. In addition to their base pay, Surrogates are compensated for their time, the medical risks they accept, and the list of expenses below:
- Mock cycle compensation
- Embryo transfer compensation
- Starting medication compensation
- Monthly allowance for miscellaneous expenses
- Monthly Housekeeping budget
- Maternity clothing budget
- Medical expenses
- Travel to and from clinic/hospital
- Lost wages if applicable
- Child care if bed rest is required
- Term life insurance
- Medical insurance
- Independent legal counsel
- Psychological counseling
- Other depending on agency
Creating a Missouri Surrogacy Contract
Because there are no surrogacy laws in Missouri, there are no specific legal regulations that must be followed when drafting a Missouri surrogacy contract. However, intended parents and surrogates must be represented by separate surrogacy attorneys to ensure that each parties’ rights and interests are protected. The two attorneys will negotiate an agreement that addresses at least the following:
- Rights and responsibilities of each party
- Potential risks and liabilities of each party
- Surrogate compensation and other financial information
- Contact expectations before, during and after the surrogacy process
- Plans for the hospital stay
- Steps for establishing the intended parents’ parental rights
- And more
Once this contract is finalized and signed by both parties, the medical process of surrogacy can begin.
Determining Legal Parentage in Missouri
Missouri surrogacy legislation does not permit pre-birth orders to confirm the intended parents’ legal rights as parents; therefore, a post-birth parentage order must be filed. Although pre-birth orders are not issued in Missouri prior to delivery, a parentage order may be filed prior to delivery and will become effective soon after the child is born. Post-birth orders are most likely to be granted to single intended parents or married intended parents when at least one of them is genetically related to the child. For same-sex or unmarried couples or when neither intended parent is genetically related to the child, it may still be possible to obtain a post-birth order but results vary by county and judge.
Same-Sex Surrogacy in Missouri
Q: Is Same-Sex Surrogacy Legal in Missouri?
A: Yes. Same-sex couples and LGBT+ intended parents have the same legal rights and will experience generally the same surrogacy process as opposite-sex couples, with the exception of likely requiring an egg donor or sperm donor to complete the IVF procedure.
Q: Are There any Additional Laws Impacting Same-Sex Parenting in Missouri?
A: No. There are no additional laws impacting same-sex parents in this state.
Q: Are Surrogacy Contracts (Whether Compensated or Altruistic) Enforceable in Missouri?
A: Since Missouri does not have a statutory rule on this, there is not a specific set of guidelines for when a judge may uphold the validity of a surrogacy arrangement. However, since a surrogacy contract is like any other legal contract, it is presumed that the contract would be enforceable. It is important to work with an experienced surrogate attorney to guide you through this process.
Q: Are There Any Particular Laws for Parents Outside the U.S. Who Complete a Surrogacy in Missouri?
A: No. International intended parents are subject to the same Missouri surrogacy process as domestic intended parents. It is important, however, that Intended parents from another country speak with an immigration lawyer to ensure they follow the proper legal steps for taking their child home.
Q: When do Intended Parents Need to Complete an Adoption After Birth?
A: The vast majority of intended parents who have a child as the result of surrogacy do not need to go through an adoption. However, when there is no genetic relation to the child, a post-birth adoption is required. Below is a list of the scenarios requiring a post-birth adoption:
- A married heterosexual couple who have no genetic relationship to the child (through embryo donation)
- An unmarried couple (same-sex or heterosexual) in which one of the intended parents is not genetically related to the child — the unrelated intended parent will have to complete a second-parent adoption
- A single intended parent who is not genetically related to the child
Q: Does Missouri Allow Second-Parent Adoptions? Who Would Need to Complete a Second-Parent Adoption vs. a Stepparent Adoption (If Applicable)?
A: Yes. A second-parent adoption would be necessary if the intended parents are unmarried and one of the intended parents is not genetically related to the child.
Stepparent adoptions are available to married couples.
Q: What Happens in Cases Where Intended Parents Use a Donor Egg, Sperm or Embryo?
A: This depends on the marital status of the parties, as mentioned above. If intended parents are using a donated egg or sperm, and if they are married, they will go through the parentage process described above. If the intended parent or parents in a surrogacy are using a donated embryo, then they will have to adopt the child.
REPRODUCTIVE LAW PRACTITIONERS
Brian K. Hammon
Catherine W. Keefe
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