State-by-State Surrogacy Laws: Surrogacy in North Carolina
North Carolina has no surrogacy-specific laws on the books. Because of the lack of hurdles to start or complete surrogacy journeys combined with the fact that courts have been favorable to surrogacy in the past, however, North Carolina is on the list of “surrogacy-friendly” states and is a great place to explore your options.
If you’re an Intended Parent looking for a surrogate, start by understanding your specific needs through conversations with your Reproductive Endocrinologist and a trusted attorney specializing in surrogacy.
If you’re interested in becoming a surrogate, especially if this is your first time, make sure you understand the requirements, your legal rights, and what to expect from the process. Being pregnant with your own child is different than carrying for someone else – medically and emotionally. You’ll need to decide whether you want to be a traditional or gestational carrier. Traditional carriers use their own eggs and are biologically related to the child(ren) they carry on behalf of Intended Parents. Gestational carriers, by contrast, carry an implanted embryo that may or not be fully or partly genetically related to Intended Parents. Traditional surrogacy inherently contains risks that gestational surrogacy do not because of the direct genetic relationship between surrogate and the child(ren). Intended Parents and surrogates need to be informed about those risks and proceed accordingly. In North Carolina and elsewhere, most surrogacy journeys are gestational.
While there are no surrogacy-specific statutes in North Carolina, there are many ethical and legal standards established by attorneys who specialize in surrogacy as well as Reproductive Endocrinologists who work with surrogacy journeys. General contract law combined with industry-created standards and thoughtful considerations for all parties guide surrogacy agreements in North Carolina.
For your reference, we have a compiled list of attorneys that specialize in surrogacy.
Is commercial surrogacy allowed in North Carolina?
Yes. There are no restrictions on how much a surrogate can receive for her services in the state. Surrogates choose the compensation they feel is appropriate.
How do I find a surrogate without a surrogacy agency in North Carolina? Can Intended Parents and surrogates do a surrogacy journey without an agency?
Yes. You never need an agency and there are many reasons why an independent journey in North Carolina might be your best option. Here’s some of the reasons surrogates prefer independent journeys. There’s also more information below for Intended Parents and anyone interested in forgoing an agency.
Who can become an Intended Parent in North Carolina?
Married or unmarried couples whether they are heterosexual or members of the LGBTQ+ community are all treated equally under the law. In North Carolina, anyone who has been advised by their doctor or knows they cannot biologically carry a pregnancy is able to consider surrogacy as an option to start or grow a family.
Some additional things to know about surrogacy in North Carolina
Pre-birth orders are directives from courts declaring Intended Parents and not surrogates to be the parents. In North Carolina, pre-birth orders are available past the first trimester. They are usually granted, though Intended Parents with no genetic ties to the child(ren) may need to go through a post-birth adoption process. Additionally, while pre-birth orders are usually granted to parents with at least one genetic tie, it’s not a given and may vary depending on location. As always, check with a qualified attorney for more insight into the process and how to best establish legal parentage.
As is the case in many states, there are no requirements in North Carolina that you have a surrogacy agreement in place prior to moving forward, however, it is ill advised to undergo a surrogacy journey without one. The medical aspect of surrogacy (e.g. when an embryo is transferred) should only proceed when everyone is the same page. Additionally, many clinics will not do an embryo transfer without knowing a fully executed surrogacy agreement in place.
Surrogacy contracts should be detailed and cover a wide variety of scenarios, including detailing the risks and responsibilities of each party. What is the agreed-upon compensation? How will that compensation be paid and on what schedule? What are the pregnancy-related protocols everyone is comfortable with? What should happen in the event of a medical or personal emergency?
Step one: make sure you’re qualified. Note every woman that has had a successful pregnancy in the past meets the requirements. Surrogacy Place has a short quiz you can take to find out if you meet some of the basic requirements.
Here’s some of requirements you should in mind when deciding to become a surrogate in North Carolina:
- Your age is/will be between 21-44; an exact age requirement may vary by clinic.
- You have never experienced a major pregnancy complication e.g. preeclampsia, postpartum depression, placental abruption/previa.
- You have at least one child of your own that you are actively raising or have raised.
- You live in safe housing that you own or you are in a long-term lease.
- Your finances are stable. You cannot be receiving any type of government assistance.
- You are eager and willingness to follow doctor’s orders, including taking all medications as prescribed.
- You maintain a healthy weight with a BMI < 33 and currently have no major health issues. You do not take medication where pregnancy is a contradiction.
- You do not smoke or use drugs and are not around toxic chemicals.
If you qualify, you can begin matching with Intended Parents. Surrogacy Place offers surrogates the opportunity to directly match without an agency based on the criteria that’s important to you, including the location of the Intended Parents if you are looking for someone local.
After you match, you will be formally vetted by the Intended Parent(s)’s fertility clinic. Once cleared, surrogacy contracts are finished and signed. If all goes well, an embryo transfer will be scheduled and a pregnancy will hopefully be the result!
For additional details, we have a surrogacy guide detailing the process.
We also have 8 steps to take on your way to becoming a surrogate.
Finding a Surrogate / Finding an Intended Parent
At Surrogacy Place, we designed a custom platform for surrogates and Intended Parents to find each other based on unique needs and preferences. If you’re looking for carriers or Intended Parents in North Carolina, for example, you can search by location.
Surrogacy Place’s independent surrogacy matching site is always free for surrogates who can create their profiles at any time. Intended Parents pay a small subscription fee to get started. Create your account when you’re ready.
What are some of the advantages of doing an independent journey and ditching a surrogacy agency?
The top reasons most often given by Intended Parents are cost savings and the shorter wait times for matching (some agencies have a waiting list longer than 18 months!). The cost savings for Intended Parents can also result in higher compensation for surrogates as much more of the available compensation is offered directly to the surrogate.
When you don’t use an agency, you can also match on specific criteria without being limited to the 1-3 profiles an agency is willing to show you. Additionally, agencies often pressure surrogates and Intended Parents to match without regard to suitability. When agencies coordinate matches, many Intended Parents find themselves matched with surrogates who aren’t medically fit to carry (with some going back into the pool of potential matches for others when they are dismissed by prior Intended Parents) and many surrogates find themselves matched with Intended Parents who don’t align with their pregnancy preferences. Remember, only Reproductive Endocrinologists and licensed attorneys can advise intended parents and surrogates on the suitability of a match.
For information on the some of the various costs Intended Parents pay for surrogacy, please read our “how much does surrogacy generally cost” overview.
Looking for an overview on surrogacy in another state? Read details from other states in our state by state comparison hub.