State-by-State Surrogacy Laws: Surrogacy in Wisconsin
Wisconsin does not have any surrogacy-specific statutes however, surrogacy is permitted and widely practiced in the state. Surrogacy contracts are considered enforceable via a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision In re. the Paternity of F.T.R David J. Rosecky v. Monica M. Schissel which determined that surrogacy contracts are valid unless they are contrary to the best interests of a child. The opinion presented in the case also urged the Wisconsin legislature to enact surrogacy-specific laws in acknowledgement of the fast-growing advances in Assisted Reproduction and surrogacy. To date, however, surrogacy has not been addressed by the Wisconsin state legislature.
What’s fascinating about this particular case is that it concerned traditional surrogacy where the surrogate was the biological mother of the child. Despite the genetic ties, however, the courts ruled that the contract was valid and enforceable and that primary custody should be awarded to the Petitioner-appellant (Intended Parent). The case opinion affirmed “[e]nforcement of surrogacy agreements promotes stability and permanence in family relationships because it allows the intended parents to plan for the arrival of their child, reinforces the expectations of all parties to the agreement, and reduces contentious litigation that could drag on for the first several years of the child’s life.” Furthermore, the ruling deliberately contrasted surrogacy with adoption and asserted that compensation for surrogacy was allowed and not akin to “baby selling” concerns present with adoption cases.
Despite a state supreme court case affirming traditional surrogacy, it is inherently more complicated than gestational surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy is an arrangement where an embryo is implanted into the surrogate; she shares no genetic ties to the child(ren). By contrast, in traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is the biological mother of the child(ren) she is carrying because her own eggs are used. In the case referenced above, the court did not terminate the surrogate’s parental rights to her biological child (via traditional surrogacy) even while awarding custody to the Petitioner-appellant, the Intended Parent. This was also a case where both parties were previously close personal friends. The friendship between parties did not prevent a dispute over parentage. Because of the extra biological layer of complication, the overwhelming majority of surrogacy involves gestational carriers. Always review your available options with a surrogacy-knowledgeable attorney. If you need help finding a Wisconsin-licensed attorney, you can visit our Surrogacy Place directory for a list of experienced professionals on the state.
Can you undergo a commercial surrogacy journey in Wisconsin?
Yes! There are no laws that address surrogacy specifically which means there are no restrictions on its practice within the state. Surrogacy guidelines follow best practices from decades of surrogacy, as well as those established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The opinions in In re. the Paternity of F.T.Raffirmed compensated surrogacy was not contrary to public policy for both types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational.
Is it possible to match with IPs or surrogates without an agency?
Yes! You can self-match and self-manage your own surrogacy. Intended Parents and surrogates have a variety of reasons why they prefer independent surrogacy. A surrogacy-specializing attorney and the medical professionals at your IVF clinic can properly guide you on how to meet all the medical and legal requirements. There’s very little heavy lifting and administrative concerns when doing a journey on your own.
Are there any LGBTQ+ or other restrictions on who can be an Intended Parent in Wisconsin?
Not at all. Everyone is treated the same under the law in Wisconsin. Pre-birth orders are available to all types of family structures and genetic relationships to the child(ren), however, these vary by county. Even when pre-birth orders are issued, post-birth parentage orders are also required to obtain the child(ren)’s birth certificate. A lawyer licensed in Wisconsin can provide more insight on how to proceed with establishing parentage.
How can I become a surrogate as a resident of Wisconsin?
You first need to do some self reflection and decide whether you’re truly qualified. SurrogacyPlace.com has a short surrogacy quiz to help you learn about the basic requirements.
Here’s a list of some of the typical qualifications surrogates are expected to meet:
- Surrogates are older than 21 and usually younger than 42 in age. Exact age requirements are determined by each fertility clinic.
- Surrogates should have excellent overall health including a Body Mass Index in a healthy range as determined by the Intended Parent(s) Reproductive Endocrinologist.
- Surrogates have to have carried at least one pregnancy to full term without any significant complications.
- Surrogates are required to have at least one child they have raised or are actively currently raising.
- Surrogates cannot take medicine where pregnancy is a contradiction. This includes anti-depressants and other medications needed to manage chronic illness.
- Surrogates cannot be on any form of government assistance, including Medicaid.
- Surrogates must have long term, secure and safe housing.
- Surrogates must not be a recreational drug user and must be willing to abstain from tobacco/drugs/alcohol during pregnancy.
If you fit all of the above qualifications, congratulations – you are likely a good candidate and ready to match with potential Intended Parents. As you progress through the steps, be sure you know what criteria you’re looking for in a potential match. Do the values of prospective Intended Parents match your own? Do you agree on compensation?
After matching, you’ll finalize legal contracts. If all parties agree, it’s time to move onto embryo transfer. With excellent luck and the miracle that is assisted reproduction, hopefully a pregnancy will be the result!
Here are the eight-steps you will take in deciding to become a gestational surrogate.
Are you searching for a surrogacy match in Wisconsin?
You’re in luck, SurrogacyPlace.com is a self-matching platform. Via our searchable database, surrogates and Intended Parents can interview each other based on unique requirements and individual preferences. If you are in need of a surrogate or Intended Parent based in Wisconsin (or elsewhere), we have search tools to find candidates in specific locations.
Surrogacy Place’s platform is always free for surrogates. IPs will pay a small subscription fee. If you want to create your profile to get started, head to our SurrogacyPlace.com sign-up page.
Let’s get candid about some of the biggest advantages of not using a surrogacy agency
As you might expect, the primary factor that tops the list of Intended Parents’ reasons is the considerable cost savings that comes with self-managed surrogacy. These savings can often translate into higher compensations for surrogates. This is because agency fees are removed from the equation which can directly impact an IP’s available compensation budget. Moreover, independent surrogacy can provide a faster matching process, drawing from a larger pool of candidates. By interviewing multiple candidates, surrogates and Intended Parents can identify the perfect match without having to compromise on their respective preferences. Independent surrogacy can foster stronger relationships between surrogates and Intended Parents as communication occurs directly rather than through an agency coordinator. Unlike agency databases, which may be extremely limited in size (most agencies do not disclose this), independent surrogacy allows prospective parents to explore a wide range of potential surrogates and vice versa.
Here’s some of the surrogate-specific reasons why independent matching is preferred by surrogates.
What should Intended Parents budget for their surrogacy journey? Here’s a guide to give you a sense of typical surrogacy costs.
Curious about the regulations in states outside of Wisconsin? We have info in all 50 states in our exclusive surrogacy-considerations-in-each-state guide.