State-by-State Surrogacy Laws: Surrogacy in Ohio
Starting a surrogacy journey in Ohio can be an overwhelming process. If you’re doing your research before diving right in, you’re on the right track. Family-building via Assisted Reproduction/surrogacy is still an emerging field in medicine and in the law. There are specific medical, legal, and ethical considerations which must be followed to be successful. You will need to lean on experts, namely a qualified attorney and your IVF clinic.
In the United States, there are no federal laws that inform surrogacy arrangements. Rather, each state has the ability to create its own framework of laws. In some states, there’s an absence of regulations entirely. In Ohio, the state Supreme Court provided published case law affirming gestational surrogacy as an acceptable and desired means of family-building. Surrogacy contracts in the state are considered enforceable. This puts Ohio in the list of “surrogacy-friendly” states.
It’s a bit more murky for traditional surrogacy where the surrogate is biologically related to the child(ren) she will carry (i.e. in cases where she would be using her own egg). Traditional surrogacy is not prohibited in the state, however. Establishing parentage is inherently more complicated for a traditional surrogacy. Always consult with a qualified attorney if you are interested in traditional surrogacy so that you understand the risks vs. a more typical gestational surrogacy journey.
Surrogacy professionals in Ohio (IVF clinics and attorneys) have developed ethical and practical standards designed with safety in mind. When correctly applied, the rights of surrogates and Intended Parents are well protected. Before you begin embryo transfer, you’ll need a surrogacy contract in place. This agreement should be drafted by an attorney that is well versed in local surrogacy law. If you need help finding an attorney, Surrogacy Place has a compiled attorney directory that is updated regularly.
Intended Parents: you will need to have a consultation with a Reproductive Endocrinologist to make sure surrogacy is the right path to take on your journey towards having child(ren). Need a rundown on surrogacy costs? we created this expenses sheet covering typical costs that you should expect to pay.
Surrogates: not everyone is qualified to be a surrogate, even if you have an intense desire to help others create families. Guidelines exist for a reason. Only those that meet strict medical and legal recommendations are eligible to become a surrogate.
How is commercial surrogacy in Ohio regulated?
There are no regulations on commercial surrogacy in the state. This means gestational surrogates in Ohio can decide on the compensation they feel is appropriate based on the time they intend to devote to surrogacy and the overall risk to their health.
How can I find a surrogacy match without an agency in Ohio?
Some folks prefer the expensive concierge service a surrogacy agency provides. Others have a host of compelling reasons why they are pursuing surrogacy without an agency (also called an “independent journey”). If you’re choosing to forgo an exclusive relationship with an agency, try Surrogacy Place’s self-matching platform and find the right surrogacy match based on your needs.
Are there any laws that restrict who can become an Intended Parent in Ohio?
Fortunately, no. Members of all gender expressions and sexual orientations are treated the same with respect to legal parentage under surrogacy arrangements. Pre-birth orders are available to most Intended Parents. In Ohio counties where they are not available, post-birth orders are obtainable. In surrogacy-friendly courts, when a surrogacy agreement is in place, whether or not the Intended Parent(s) are partially and fully biologically related to the resulting child(ren) does not typically influence whether a pre-birth order is granted.
Reproductive healthcare access in Ohio
The Ohio Senate with enthusiastic support from Ohio governor Mike DeWine passed S.B. 23 in 2019, a so-called “heartbeat bill” restricting abortions at 6-weeks gestation. The bill was blocked by a Cincinnati court, however, and reproductive healthcare in all emergency situations (and otherwise) remains available up to 22 weeks to those that need it. There is no sense of what may happen with respect to reproductive healthcare access in the future, however, so Ohio surrogates and Intended Parents need to stay abreast of developments in local abortion law. While pregnancy complications remain rare, especially in surrogacy where surrogates are vetted via rigorous medical evaluations, they can happen to anyone at any time. It’s best to know what options are available in the event of emergencies.
The first consideration is to make sure you understand the process and the requirements. Even if you’ve had unremarkable (from a medical perspective) pregnancies in the past, it does not guarantee you are fit to be a surrogate and carry on behalf of others. There are considerations designed with safety and ethics in mind. If you’re just starting your exploration of surrogacy, here’s a surrogate requirements quiz to help familiarize yourself with many of the expected requirements.
When deciding to become a surrogate in Ohio, it’s imperative that you consider the following criteria:
- You have never experienced complicated pregnancies or deliveries, including pre-term birth and post-partum depression.
- You are willing to share confidential medical records pertaining to your past pregnancies.
- Your age falls between 21 and 42 years. Some clinics may have different or more narrow age requirements depending on individual circumstances.
- You are a legal resident or a citizen of the United States.
- You have previously given birth to at least one biological child of your own and have raised them or are actively raising them.
- Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is within a healthy range e.g. below 32.
- You are not receiving any type of government financial aid or assistance including food supplement/housing.
If all the requirements are met, you can start the process of matching with potential Intended Parents. Surrogacy Place’s independent matching platform allows surrogates and Intended Parents to find matches without going through a surrogacy agency. Utilize the advanced search filters to find a variety of potential matches based on specific parameters, including the geographic location of the Intended Parents and respective views on controversial topics like abortions and vaccines.
After rigorous vetting, the Intended Parent(s)’s Reproductive Endocrinologist must sign off on a potential surrogate’s medical fitness for pregnancy. Once medical has been signed off, attorneys representing each side (surrogates use lawyers that are paid for by the Intended Parents) will finalize surrogacy contracts. If everyone is in agreement, an embryo transfer phase will occur, and with it the hopes of a surrogacy journey!
Surrogates who need more information: check out our surrogacy process overview.
For some specific steps, read about things you’ll need to do when deciding to become a surrogate.
Finding your perfect Intended Parent or surrogate match in Ohio
Many turn to surrogacy agencies to find matches. Surrogacy Place offers an alternative via our self-matching platform (absolutely no agency needed!). Intended Parents and surrogates can directly evaluate a pool of potentials for suitability. Meet the perfect match by searching through Surrogacy Place’s database of registered Intended Parents and surrogates.
Signing up as a potential surrogate? Surrogacy Place is free to use. Signing up as an Intended Parent? Pay a small fee to use the Surrogacy Place’s full toolbox including direct messaging. To get started finding matches, create a profile.
Why many surrogates and Intended Parents avoid exclusive contracts with agencies in favor of doing an independent journey
Independent journeys are popular with Intended Parents with limited budgets, or those that would rather give more compensation to surrogates directly. Additionally, many Intended Parents prefer to get started immediately and not wait 18+ months to move up an agency’s waitlist.
Agencies have a finite pool of Intended Parents and surrogates. When you sign an exclusive agreement, you may not find what you’re looking for in an agency’s database. This presents a risk on both sides. An agency is likely to show surrogates profiles of Intended Parents that have been waiting the longest. An agency is also likely to show Intended Parents an extremely limited amount of surrogate profiles for a variety of reasons; some simply don’t represent more than a handful of surrogates; others are showing you what they have at the moment with demand for surrogates at an all-time high. Those that want to avoid pressure to accept a less-than-ideal match will often turn to self-managed (independent) surrogacy.
Remember, there is no legal requirement that you use an agency. Additionally, whether you’re self-managing your own journey or using an agency, the only people qualified to make sure you undergo a successful surrogacy journey are Reproductive Endocrinologists and surrogacy-experienced attorneys. No agency can ever warrant that a surrogate is medically or otherwise fit to be a surrogate. Due diligence is your responsibility whether you’re using an agency or doing surrogacy on your own.
Intended Parents: we have a post about some of the various costs most can expect to during the surrogacy process.