State-by-State Surrogacy Laws: Surrogacy in Illinois
Illinois is unique and among the top surrogacy-friendly states: In 2005, the state enacted comprehensive laws regarding surrogacy under the Gestational Surrogacy Act. In fact, the Act details a straightforward process for Intended Parent to establish legal parentage for children born via gestational surrogacy under the law. This means the Intended Parents and not the gestational surrogate and/or her husband/partner are listed on the birth certificate without the need for court orders assigning such rights where they are biologically related to the child(ren). Pre and post birth orders are available when there are no genetic ties to the child(ren).
The Gestational Surrogacy Act lists the following requirements:
At least one Intended Parent must be genetically related to the child to be eligible for the simplified process of establishing parentage via the Act.
Surrogacy contracts are mandated and must prove consent. Medical doctors licensed in Illinois as well as licensed attorneys representing both sides must sign a certifying statement and such statement must be executed before the birth of the child(ren). The certified statements (original copies) must be delivered to the hospital where delivery is planned to take place.
All surrogacy journeys in the state must involve licensed attorneys and signed contracts. This and the other requirements outlined in the Gestational Surrogacy Act are there to protect the rights of everyone involved. Surrogacy contracts explicitly outline what is expected of both sides including responsibilities, rights, and compensation due to the surrogate throughout the journey and at completion. No journey should begin without being on the same page with respect to acceptable protocols, compensation, risks, and how to handle unexpected complications. In Illinois, you must have a detailed agreement in place prior to beginning the medical aspect of surrogacy.
For more information on the requirements in the state, a licensed attorney can guide you with all of the legal specifics. As a result of surrogacy-friendly laws on the books, Illinois ranks high on the list of most desired locations for surrogacy journeys. Surrogacy Place created our own attorney directory as a resource.
What about traditional surrogacy? While not covered in the Illinois Gestational Surrogacy Act, traditional surrogacy is allowed because it is not explicitly forbidden. Intended Parents and surrogates interested in traditional surrogacy should note that there are additional risks because of the biological relationship between carrier and child(ren). Therefore, most completed surrogacy journeys in Illinois and elsewhere are with gestational surrogates. This does not mean you cannot have a successful traditional surrogacy journey in Illinois. A qualified attorney can walk you through the risk and rewards of such an arrangement should that be the best option for you and your family.
Can surrogates in Illinois be compensated?
Yes. Illinois provides clear guidance for the commercial surrogacy arrangements that takes place in the state.
I’m interested in surrogacy without using a third-party agency. Is that an option?
Yes. There isn’t a need to use a surrogacy agency. Some Intended Parents or surrogates like the handholding that a concierge service provides, but there are many valid reasons why an independent journey is preferred. Some of those reasons include financial incentives (for both sides), direct vetting with a wider pool of potentials, and the potential for a closer relationship on both sides that feels less like a business transaction.
It’s important to remember with or without an agency, choosing the right partner is critical for a successful journey. Know what you’re looking for and who your ideal match is ahead of time. Consider things like reasons for wanting a surrogacy journey, stance on termination, medical history, and more. Communication style is key. For many Intended Parents, not being able to achieve a pregnancy on their own can be emotional; for many surrogates, wanting the Intended Parents directly involved in the journey is usually important.
Am I eligible to be an Intended Parent?
In Illinois, everyone has equal protection under the law and this is codified further in the Gestational Surrogacy Act. This includes married/unmarried, LGBTQ+, and a wide variety of alternative family structures. The Gestational Surrogacy Act covers everyone.
What are some of the requirements I need to meet to become a surrogate?
- Financial independence – you are not receiving assistance from the government and have steady income (either yourself or via your partner/spouse).
- Your overall health is excellent, including a BMI less than 30.
- You do not smoke or use drugs, are willing to avoid alcohol entirely before and during pregnancy.
- You must be willing to take hormones and medication as prescribed by a Reproductive Endocrinologist and your own OB-GYN.
- You are between 22-44 in age.
- Your prior pregnancies have been “easy”/uneventful with no major health issues throughout.
- You are a mom with at least one kid of your own.
Surrogacy is a huge commitment. Surrogates must be sure they know what they’re getting into. There are mental and physical aspects of surrogacy that can take its toll if you’re not prepared; make sure starting a journey is the right decision for yourself and your family before diving in. Your partner (if you have one) should be supportive. If you have a professional career, think about how that might be impacted. Be honest with yourself and your family.
These are just some of the qualifications you’d need to meet. Take our requirements quiz to learn more.
If you’re a good candidate, you can start the process of matching. Want to go independent? You can use our self-matching platform and start chatting with Intended Parents right away. After matching and vetting, you will go through the legal and medical parts of your surrogacy journey. If everything works out as expected, you’ll have an embryo transferred thus beginning your surrogacy journey. If all continues to go well, you will experience a healthy pregnancy with a child(ren) delivered to grateful Intended Parents.
For additional details, visit our blog.
If you’re in Illinois and want more information on becoming a surrogate, check out our comprehensive overview.
Finding your ideal surrogate or Intended Parent match in Illinois
Surrogacy Place is a secure and trusted platform that connects surrogates and Intended Parents based on specific requirements. If you’re looking for matches in specific areas, try our search-by-location features. Surrogacy Place and our services are free for surrogates. Intended Parents pay a small access fee. Start by creating your account.
Looking to get started on an independent journey in Illinois? Should you forgo an agency?
There are thousands of people who chose to do their surrogacy journey independently and there are many reasons for this. Intended Parents often prefer to save money on expensive agency matching fees, and many are able to offer surrogates more money since they don’t have so much going to the agency. Going independent also allows both sides to vet a wide pool of people vs. the small handful of profiles an agency is willing to show them. Then there’s the long wait times – Intended Parents can wait over a year, sometimes 18 months or longer for an agency to match them. Independent surrogacy allows greater control over the process which can significantly shorten wait times.
Beyond matching, agencies don’t do very much coordination. Sure, they may coordinate travel and make appointments, but these are simple tasks that don’t require tens of thousands of dollars for the service.
At the end of the day, both surrogates and Intended Parents are served by picking qualified medical and legal professionals. They and they alone are ultimately responsible for clearing and vetting matches, whether going through an agency or going independent.
I’m trying to wrap my mind around all the expenses related to surrogacy. What can I expect?
It’s a lot. We know. Here’s a guide that covers most of the costs you can expect to pay as an Intended Parent.
Looking for surrogacy information for another state? Explore our surrogacy by state directory.