Surrogacy in Indiana
If you’re considering a surrogacy journey as a resident of Indiana, you need to proceed carefully. Although you can practice surrogacy legally in the state, it’s considered a less-than-ideal location due to the lack of legal protections and the hurdles with respect to establishing legal parentage. In Indiana, surrogacy contracts are considered unenforceable which means regardless of what both parties agree to at the start of their journey, there are no legal protections if issues arise.
While there have been successful surrogacy journeys in Indiana, it’s important to understand the risks and limitations. Attorneys may create informal agreements between parties, but these documents are not the same as legal protections. In Indiana such agreements are more akin to a conversation to discuss what you’re looking for; they will not hold up in court if there are future disputes. If you do decide to pursue surrogacy in Indiana, it’s crucial to have a frank discussion with a qualified Assisted Reproduction attorney who can advise you on how to proceed and what you can expect throughout the process as you begin a journey in one of the least surrogacy-friendly states. Indiana may be right for you and you may be wish to be a surrogate in Indiana; best to go into it with eyes wide open however.
Traditional surrogacy is not prohibited in Indiana, but falls under the same limitations as with gestational surrogacy in the state, namely the lack of legal protections and a more arduous, unpredictable process of establishing legal parentage.
You should consult a qualified attorney specializing in surrogacy/Assisted Reproduction for more information. Surrogacy Place has an attorney guide; if your state is not listed check back at a later date.
In Indiana, can surrogates be compensated?
Yes, but as surrogacy contracts are considered unenforceable, disputes concerning compensation are unlikely to be upheld in court if challenged. Surrogates need to understand this before proceeding.
How about independent journeys? Can you move forward independently in Indiana?
Yes. There’s no difference between independent journeys and agencies with respect to the law in Indiana. Many surrogates and Intended Parents prefer to proceed without an agency. Scroll down below for more information on independent journeys.
What does the law say about which types of individuals/couples can successfully petition their parentage in Indiana?
On a case-by-case basis, some courts will issue pre-birth orders though the child must be genetically related to both of the Intended Parents. This obviously has ramifications for LGBTQ+ couples, single Intended Parents, and any Intended Parent using sperm or egg donors. Individuals of any sexual orientation or family structure can pursue surrogacy in Indiana, though it remains more difficult. Where both Intended Parents are not biologically related to the child(ren), there are significant steps needed to take to establish parentage, including legally adopting the children resulting from surrogacy. Ultimately, how pre-birth orders are handled are up to the decisions of individual judges. There are no guarantees even if both parents are biologically related to the child(ren). Additionally, because surrogacy contracts are not legally enforceable, a surrogate could claim legal rights to the child(ren) she carried even where she is not genetically related regardless of the medical expenses and compensation paid by Intended Parents. As stated throughout, proceed with caution.
Other considerations regarding surrogacy in Indiana:
After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade, abortion is now banned outright in Indiana except in cases where the pregnant woman’s life is in imminent danger or the fetus has no possible chance of surviving. This can be a subjective call, however, and states that ban abortion risk the health of the woman carrying even where pregnancies are wanted such as in the case of surrogacy.
Be aware: although you may know someone in Indiana or be tempted to match with someone in Indiana while preferring more surrogacy-friendly laws of neighboring states, it’s ill-advised and likely illegal to ask someone to move from Indiana to another state for the purposes of starting a surrogacy journey. Intended Parents living in Indiana, however, may wish to consider other states when trying to find surrogates, especially with the extremely surrogacy-friendly state, Illinois, right next door.
The process for becoming a surrogate in Indiana
The first step is to access whether you’re qualified. Surrogacy is not for everyone, including those with a high-risk medical history. Here’s some questions you should ask yourself.
Some of the usual guidelines are listed here. These can vary slightly depending on Reproductive Endocrinologist/personal situation:
- Your past pregnancies have been complication-free.
- Your family is complete; you are finished having kids of your own.
- You do not use drugs, do not smoke, and are willing to avoid alcohol and prohibited drugs/supplements during pregnancy.
- You are responsible and willing to follow doctor’s orders.
- You are between 21 and 44 years old.
- You are not receiving (currently) any type of government financial assistance. You are financially secure.
Only your Intended Parent(s)’ Reproductive Endocrinologist can provide you with an official medical clearance after he/she determines you are qualified. If you feel you’re qualified, however, you can start meeting and vetting Intended Parents for a possible match.
The Surrogacy Place Site and self-matching platform is designed specifically for independent journeys. It’s also designed to help you find each other based on things that are important to you such as location, fair compensation, stance on medical issues/decisions and more.
Following the matching phase, you will gather information from your legal teams, though a contract phase doesn’t really exist in Indiana in the traditional sense. This is more of an opportunity to discuss your rights with your attorney. If everyone is on the same page, embryo implantation happens and with luck on your side, you’re on your way to a pregnancy.
Here’s a guide we put together specifically for gestational surrogates.
Why match independently in Indiana? Find out some more info on what going independent means.
Here’s more information on how to become a surrogate.
Finding a potential surrogate in Indiana
You can start with Surrogacy Place, a secure platform developed specifically for individuals/couples who are seeking surrogates and the carriers themselves. Using the site, you can match directly with based on your unique situation and needs. Sign up here. Registration is free for surrogates, Intended Parent(s) pay an access fee to view and message surrogates.
Top reasons to do independent journeys
For most people, the primary reason for going independent is removing the agency middle man and the extraordinary high fees that go along with using an agency. Removing agency fees out of the picture not only saves the Intended Parents money (and lots of it), but the financial savings are often used towards a higher compensation base fee for the surrogate. Surrogates deserve to receive the fee they know they deserve regardless of agency’s financial goals which may sometimes lean towards the greedy side.
Why else? Matching times at agencies especially for Intended Parent(s) can be long and are sometimes measured in years not months. Independent matching allows many Intended Parent(s) to start their journeys faster. Additionally, agencies have a finite pool of candidates on both sides and will try to force matches depending on who is paying the most. Surrogates don’t always see the full range of available Intended Parent(s). This is limiting with respect to who might ultimately make the idea match.
The reasons Intended Parent(s) may prefer independent journeys are straight-forward. Here are some reasons surrogates might prefer them too.
What are some of the costs Intended Parents can expect to pay? Which ones are optional?
We have a discussion on this very topic. Get some information on surrogacy budgets.
Looking for surrogacy information for another state? Explore our surrogacy by state directory.