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STATE SURROGACY LAW:

Ohio Surrogacy Laws

Overview

Gestational surrogacy is permitted in Ohio. Since the 1990s, Ohio has seen a number of court cases dealing with surrogacy. Factors in the cases included the presence of a written contract and a biological connection to a child.

Case law exists discussing the various means of identifying a “natural parent.” Ohio Courts may be guided by the case of J.F. v. D.B., (2007), 116 Ohio St.3d 363, 2007-Ohio-6750, in which the Ohio Supreme Court held that “no public policy of Ohio is violated when a gestational-surrogacy contract is entered into, even when one of the provisions prohibits the gestational surrogate from asserting parental rights regarding children she bears that are of another woman’s artificially inseminated egg,” [at ¶16]  and the case of S.N. v. M.B. (2010) 2010-Ohio-2479 in which the Tenth District Court of Appeals of Ohio held at ¶28 that a “surrogacy agreement, which sets forth [the Intended Parent’s] clear intention to cause the birth of the child and raise it as [their] own, manifests [a] voluntary acknowledgment of [parentage].”

However, a biological connection is not necessary for married Intended Parents to secure their rights to a child born pursuant to a gestational surrogacy contract. In more recent years, the state has supported the rights of Intended Parent(s) of any sexual orientation and without genetic connection to their child as long as the agreements are in writing.

There aren’t any statutes or specific laws in Ohio that prevent Intended Parent(s) from pursuing traditional surrogacy. However, the enforceability of traditional surrogacy contracts depends on the judge. Legal proceedings would follow adoption code, making traditional surrogacy in effect a preplanned adoption.

Types of Surrogacy Available in Ohio

Can a parentage order be obtained for the following?

Traditional surrogacy – which is effectively a preplanned adoption agreement – is available in Ohio, but rulings vary when it comes to establishing parentage. Some courts may limit the approval of traditional surrogacy contracts to altruistic situations. Many attorneys and agencies do not take these cases due to the increased legal risks involved because a surrogate legally can’t be forced to give up her parental rights.

Gestational surrogacy

YES

Commercial surrogacy

YES

Traditional surrogacy

UNCERTAIN

Altruistic surrogacy

YES

Parentage

Who can be declared as the parent(s) of a child from a surrogate via a court parentage order?

Married Heterosexual Couple Married Same-Sex Couple Unmarried Heterosexual Couple Unmarried Same-Sex Couple Single
Two Genetic Connections 💚 💚
One Genetic Connection 💚 💚 VARIES VARIES 💚
No Genetic Connections 💚 💚 VARIES VARIES 💚
Married Heterosexual Couple Married Same-Sex Couple Unmarried Heterosexual Couple Unmarried Same-Sex Couple Single
Two Genetic Connections 💚 💚
One Genetic Connection 💚 💚 VARIES VARIES 💚
No Genetic Connections 💚 💚 VARIES VARIES 💚
Show Court Parentage Order Collapse

💚 – Both Intended Parent(s) can be named on the parentage order.

💛 – Only a genetic Intended Parent can be named on the parentage order. A non-genetic Intended Parent will need to establish parentage via a second or stepparent adoption following birth.

It varies as to whether unmarried parties can have their names listed on a birth certificate if there is no genetic link to the child. The genetic parent will always be put on the birth certificate if a proper contract has been executed. An unmarried non-genetic parent has no legal right to secure parentage of a child born to a gestational carrier, even with a contract – however, some courts may consider the specific facts of the case and issue parentage orders based upon physician affidavits of the IVF clinic that assisted the parties.  

Second parent and stepparent adoptions should only be necessary with a traditional surrogacy arrangement or in cases of preplanned adoption agreements, which require a six-month wait time after the Intended Parents take custody of the baby.

Results may vary by court. Establishing a valid Ohio gestational carrier agreement under the guidance of an experienced Ohio attorney is recommended. 

How are Intended Parent(s) Listed on the Birth Certificate?

Intended Parent(s) may be listed as Father-Mother, Parent-Parent, Mother-Mother, Father-Father, or Mother or Father.

A birth certificate can be issued for a single Intended Parent with only one parent named (the Intended Parent).

Rights of Egg or Sperm Donor(s)

The issue of egg, sperm, and embryo donor rights in Ohio is covered by a number of statutes and case law. Ohio code 3111.95 states that sperm donors have no rights over the donated sperm or a resulting child. 

Surrogacy Steps in Ohio

Surrogacy Process in Ohio

Select your agency if applicable

Match with a gestational carrier

Complete medical and psychological evaluations

Select attorneys for the intended parents and gestational carrier and complete the gestational carrier agreement

Begin IVF cycle with surrogate

Pre-birth order

Ohio may allow pre-birth orders to be filed. Proceedings begin after the first trimester.

Delivery and birth certificate finalization

Post-birth order

Ohio may require post-birth orders depending on the court.

Birth Certificate Timeline

Birth certificate

1-6 months.

Legal and medical steps involved in the surrogacy process may differ from case to case. Please speak with your agency and attorneys about how the process might look for you.

Court Processes

Surrogacy Contracts

Gestational surrogacy contracts in Ohio are recognized and enforced by the state. Traditional surrogacy contracts may or may not be enforceable depending on the circumstances and the presiding judge.

Independent Counsel

Independent counsel is strongly recommended, but not required, for all parties involved in a surrogacy agreement.

Requirements for Surrogates and Intended Parent(s)

Ohio has no statutory requirements that must be met for surrogates and Intended Parent(s) to participate in a surrogacy agreement. However, agencies and fertility clinics have their own requirements based on the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys

Birth Orders

Do courts issue pre-birth orders?

VARIES

Do courts issue post-birth orders?

VARIES

Are hearings required to obtain either pre- or post-birth orders?

VARIES

If hearing is required, do all parties need to attend?

VARIES

When working with an experienced attorney, Intended Parent(s) are routinely able to obtain pre-birth orders without a hearing. However, some courts may have a preference for post-birth orders.

Bases of Venue

What are the bases of venue?

County where child is born; county where Intended Parent(s) live; county where Gestational Carrier lives.

Do rulings vary by venue?

YES

Can you file a motion to waive venue?

YES

International Issues

International Intended Parent(s) may find doing surrogacy in Ohio a relatively straightforward process. International Intended Parent(s) will have additional legal steps to complete before their return home regarding their country’s immigration and citizen laws that impact the child. It’s imperative the international Intended Parent(s) speak with an experienced attorney in their home country about their situation. The law of more than one country will need to be considered if the Intended Parent(s) are citizens or residents of more than one country. 

Residency Requirements

Does Ohio have any residency requirements for out-of-state or International Intended Parents?

Ohio requires that the Gestational Carrier live in Ohio or deliver the child in Ohio. A child born in another state will not benefit from a court order issued in Ohio establishing parentage.

Birth Certificates

Can an international same-sex male couple receive an initial birth certificate naming the biological father and Gestational Carrier?

YES

Can they obtain a birth certificate naming only the Intended Parent(s) with no mention of the Gestational Carrier?

YES

Passport Timeline

6-8 weeks after submitting birth certificate.

Passports can be expedited for a 2-3 week delivery with an extra fee. Intended Parent(s) can also visit a regional passport agency to receive one within 8 business days.

Passports are regulated at the federal level in the United States. To learn more about the process of receiving a US passport, visit Travel.State.gov.

Consulting Attorneys

Emily Hete, Esq., LLC
492 Heatherleigh Drive
Akron, OH 44333  
(330) 666-6400
emily@hetelaw.com
www.ohiosurrogacyinfo.com

Legal Disclaimer

The content contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only. Content contained herein may or may not reflect the most current legal information on the subject; accordingly, this website is not promised to be correct or complete at any given time. Outcomes referenced should not be interpreted as an indication of future outcomes. Love & Kindness Surrogacy explicitly disclaims all liability for actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this website.

This website does not constitute a replacement for legal advice or counsel. Always consult an attorney before beginning the surrogacy process.

Last updated November 2019

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