State-by-State Surrogacy Laws: Surrogacy in Oklahoma
Undergoing surrogacy in Oklahoma is both a medical and legal arrangement with all parties meeting a specific set of requirements before beginning a surrogacy journey. Oklahoma has a unique set of laws under the Oklahoma Gestational Agreement Act including the requirement that surrogacy contracts receive judicial validation through the court system before parties can proceed with an embryo transfer. 10 Okl.St.Ann. § 557 also stipulates that gestational carriers may surrender their parental rights claims by agreement and that surrogates are not the presumed parents of child(ren) born via surrogacy.
All parties must be represented by their own attorneys when negotiating and finalizing surrogacy contracts. Intended Parents pay for their own attorney while also covering any legal fees surrogates incur. In Oklahoma, surrogates can terminate a surrogacy agreement at any time for any reason until a confirmed pregnancy occurs. While surrogacy agreements tend to be lengthy and cover all types of potential scenarios, an attorney can guide you through the process and discuss how your rights are being protected.
All surrogacy journeys start with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (for Intended Parents) and a qualified attorney (for both Intended Parents and surrogates). If you need recommendations on attorneys that practice law in particular states, we have our own attorney directory listing professionals that specifically handle surrogacy cases.
Is compensated surrogacy legal in Oklahoma?
While gestational surrogates in the state are free to determine the compensation level they are most comfortable with for their participation in surrogacy, traditional surrogacy (when a surrogate’s own eggs are used) is treated like adoption under state law. Traditional carriers are prohibited from receiving any form of compensation for their services. Women interested in becoming traditional surrogates in Oklahoma must do so on an altruistic-only basis. Women interested in becoming gestational surrogates can change any desired fee for their services with no legal restrictions.
Is it possible to find a surrogate or an Intended Parent in Oklahoma without an agency?
Definitely. You can always make the decision to use an agency or to go independent without being tethered to a particular agency. Agencies can be helpful for managing the process, especially for extremely wealthy Intended Parents, but they are not a mandated process of having a successful journey. Using an agency is no guarantee that you will have a better result or a more ethical journey, or that you’ll even find the right fit. Independent surrogacy is growing for good reason, it’s a great alternative to using an agency and being restricted to their client databases.
What are the notable restrictions on Intended Parent eligibility for surrogacy in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, Intended Parents must have a proven medical need for surrogacy and the medical evidence must be available for review by the courts during the surrogacy agreement validation process. Oklahoma also requires that Intended Parent(s) complete a home study similar to those that adoptive parents undergo. During such home studies, a licensed social worker may review an Intended Parent(s)’ health, social history, residence, parenting views, financial records, reference letters, and criminal background checks. They may also have detailed discussions with Intended Parents and members of their immediate family on the stated motivation for surrogacy and their overall lifestyle. Intended Parents must also pass a psychological evaluation. These measures are meant to evaluate suitability with respect to raising a child, though they are not without controversy considering those that are able to conceive naturally are not put through any type of formal evaluation of parental fitness.
LGBTQ+ individuals/families are eligible to participate in surrogacy in the state and the laws generally apply equally to same-sex and heterosexual couples, though there may be extra hurdles with respect to establishing legal parentage in cases where neither parent is biologically related to the child(ren) e.g. embryo donation. Pre-birth orders may be obtained by married or single Intended Parents as long as the surrogacy agreement is validated by a local court as required by the Oklahoma Gestational Agreement Act.
Reproductive healthcare access in the Sooner State
In 2022, Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt signed the nation’s strictest abortion law. Abortion is banned entirely unless a doctor performing the procedure can prove the pregnant woman would be assured death if the procedure were not performed. It is unclear if a guaranteed life of disability for the pregnant woman would qualify under this new law. Like Texas, Oklahoma allows individuals to sue doctors and clinics that provide abortions. Having to prove an abortion is an acceptable exception under the law is dangerous; doctors in abortion-restrictive states tend to err on the side of taking no action vs potential actions that may be necessary to save a woman’s life. Oklahoma surrogates and Intended Parents should discuss plans for what to do if serious pregnancy complications arise and how to handle them. You should also decide if surrogacy in Oklahoma is appropriate for you and your family given the recent legislation restricting access to emergency reproductive healthcare.
We put the most general requirements to keep in mind into our requirements quiz. If you’re a surrogate, take it and see how you do to learn if you might be a good candidate.
Under the Oklahoma Gestational Agreement Act, surrogates must:
- Be over the age of 21 at the time the agreement is signed.
- Have carried and given birth to at least one biological child.
- Have been a resident of Oklahoma for at least 90 days prior to signing a surrogacy agreement unless an Intended Parent meets these same residency requirements.
- Have a complete medical evaluation to determine her suitability to carry a pregnancy.
- Go through a mental health consultation.
Not everyone is qualified to become a surrogate even if the desire is there. Potential surrogates must be evaluated by a licensed Reproductive Endocrinologist and their standards tend to be higher than those for women that conceive naturally. If you pass a formal medical evaluation – congrats, you’re ready to finalize legal contracts and move onto embryo transfer. With embryo transfer comes all the hopes of a successful surrogacy journey.
Surrogates: check out our overview to get some info about what to expect.
If/when you’re ready, here’s an overview of the process to become a surrogate.
You can directly match without using a surrogacy agency!
Those that want to do an independent journey can use Surrogacy Place to self-match. Surrogacy Place has robust search capabilities that allow Intended Parents and surrogates to start conversations directly on our site. Once you know what you’re looking for, match by specific fields including location.
Surrogates can join Surrogacy Place for free. If you’re an Intended Parent, you will need to pay a small subscription fee to access most of the site’s messaging and matching features. Start by creating your profile on our sign-up page.
Finding a surrogate or Intended Parent without an agency
Deciding on agency-free surrogacy in Oklahoma is the right choice for many. For Intended Parents that are unsure how to manage the process directly, surrogacy-experienced attorneys (who do not charge the exorbitant fees agencies charge!) do nearly all of the heavy lifting in terms of administrative work. Many will provide you with a checklist of action items you’ll need to complete a successful journey.
There are quite a few surrogates and Intended Parents who had bad experiences with agencies on their prior journeys that opt to go independent for future journeys. You can read about some of the many reasons experienced surrogates (but also first timers!) prefer independent journeys.
Exploring surrogacy outside of Oklahoma? We now have additional information about surrogacy in another states. Check out our guide.