Iowa case law and statutes implicitly permit surrogacy. In the 2018 case P.M. v. D.B., the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that gestational surrogacy contracts are enforceable, being consistent with the aforementioned statutes. The court stated its support of surrogacy, saying that “gestational surrogacy agreements promote families by enabling infertile couples to raise their own children and help bring new life into this world through willing surrogate mothers.”
Gestational surrogacy is also allowed on the basis of the Iowa Administrative Code (Section 641-99.15), which outlines the process for how Vital Records should issue birth certificates to children born by gestational carriers.
Traditional surrogacy is now decriminalized in Iowa under Code 701.11.
Can a parentage order be obtained for the following?
Traditional surrogacy cases may require additional steps to establish parentage; while the Intended Father may be able to obtain a parentage order if he is genetically connected to the child, the Intended Mother can only establish parentage via a second parent adoption.
Although traditional surrogacy is not prohibited in Iowa, most attorneys and agencies strongly advise against the practice given the increased emotional and legal risks involved.
Who can be declared as the parent(s) of a child from a surrogate via a court parentage order?
– 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.
A genetic connection to the child is required for an Intended Parent to receive a court parentage order and only the genetic Intended Father can obtain a pre-birth order. For heterosexual couples and same-sex male couples, the non-genetic parent must establish parentage via a post-birth order or adoption. It isn’t necessary for Intended Parents to be married, but it may complicate or increase wait times for a second parent adoption.
Intended Parent(s) may be listed as Father-Mother, Parent-Parent, or Father or Mother.
If donor gametes are used, the non-genetic parent can’t be placed on the birth certificate until the necessary adoption proceedings are finalized.
In Iowa, there are no statutes or case law that address the rights of a sperm, egg, or embryo donor over the gametes or resulting child.
Non-genetic Intended Parents(s) are not listed on initial birth certificate; the non-genetic parent must establish parentage via adoption, and until the adoption is finalized, only the genetic Intended Parent is named.
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.
Gestational surrogacy contracts in Iowa are recognized and enforced by the state. The enforceability of traditional surrogacy cases is uncertain, given the genetic connection between the surrogate and the child. Intended Parent(s) interested in learning more about traditional surrogacy should speak to an experienced Iowa attorney.
Independent counsel is strongly recommended, but not required, for all parties involved in a surrogacy agreement.
Both pre- and post-birth orders are required to establish parentage in Iowa, with the pre-birth order establishing the Intended Father’s rights and the post-birth order establishing rights for the other Intended Parent. It should be noted that under Iowa law, the gestational carrier is presumed to be the legal mother of a child. Therefore, Intended Mothers are unable to obtain pre-birth orders and can only establish parental rights in a post-birth order or adoption.
International Intended Parent(s) may have additional legal steps to complete upon their return home. It is recommended that the 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.
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.
Alice Eastman Helle
666 Grand Avenue Suite 2000
Des Moines, IA 50309
101 S Reid St #307
Sioux Falls, SD 57103
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 October 2019