Michigan Drops Nation's Only Paid Surrogacy Ban

New laws protect those using in vitro fertilization, also
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2024 7:00 PM CDT
Michigan Enacts Surrogacy, IVF Protections
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her State of the State address in January at the state Capitol in Lansing.   (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed into law bills giving protections to the people of Michigan who want to use paid surrogacy and in vitro fertilization to expand their families. The "package of common sense" also will "ensure LGBTQ-plus parents are treated equally," the Democrat said, per CNN. Michigan was the only remaining state with a criminal prohibition on paid surrogacy contracts. Some states have laws addressing the matter, while others have no surrogacy laws but accept the practice, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine reports. "Our outdated law prescribed up to a year of jail time and a $10,000 fine" for paid surrogacies, Whitmer said.

The laws provide a process for establishing a parent-child relationship for those who employ assisted reproduction methods, including in vitro fertilization, per the Detroit News. Republican legislators and Right to Life of Michigan opposed the laws, saying they could lead to the exploitation of vulnerable women. The bills' lead sponsor countered that "driving these arrangements underground only serves to put prospective parents and the children they hope to raise in legal jeopardy." Rep. Samantha Steckloff told a committee that she's among those who can't conceive naturally. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, she said, "I was able to put off chemo by one month in order to go through IVF and egg harvesting so that one day, I might be able to have a family of my own."

An advocate for the legislation said Michigan is the first state to alter a surrogacy law since the Alabama Supreme Court decided in February that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. While GOP Senate Leader Aric Nesbitt said the majority was overlooking the "dangerous pitfalls of commercialized surrogacy," Whitmer said she was shocked that only two of the legislature's 72 Republicans voted for the bills. The governor called the GOP opposition "incredibly cruel and anti-family." (More surrogacy stories.)

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