Michigan governor signs bill legalizing paid surrogacy

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Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Apr 2, 2024 / 17:05 pm

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, signed a bill that legalizes and regulates paid surrogacy in the state.

Michigan will join the large majority of states in the country that permit paid surrogacy. The only remaining states to not permit paid surrogacy are Nebraska and Louisiana.

The law reverses a 36-year-old prohibition on paid surrogacy in Michigan. The Legislature initially banned the market through the Michigan Surrogate Parenting Act in 1988, which made all compensatory surrogacy contracts unenforceable and the creation of such contracts punishable by fines and up to a year in prison.

To procreate through surrogacy, doctors typically create several embryos through IVF by fertilizing a woman’s egg with a man’s sperm in a lab and then implant one of the embryos in another woman, called the surrogate mother, who has no biological ties to the preborn child. In the IVF process, doctors routinely create numerous excess embryos, most of whom are discarded, which ends human lives.

The legislation was part of a nine-bill package titled the Michigan Family Protection Act. The new laws in Michigan ease the process for couples to obtain legal parental rights over the children created through surrogacy when donor eggs or sperm are used. They will effectively reduce the amount of paperwork and documentation both heterosexual and same-sex couples need.

“Decisions about if, when, and how to have a child should be left to a family, their doctor, and those they love and trust, not politicians,” Whitmer said after signing the legislation. 

“If we want more people and families to ‘make it’ in Michigan, we need to support them with the resources they need to make these deeply personal, life-changing choices,” the governor continued. 

“The Michigan Family Protection Act takes commonsense, long-overdue action to repeal Michigan’s ban on surrogacy, protect families formed by IVF, and ensure LGBTQ+ parents are treated equally. Your family’s decisions should be up to you, and my legislative partners and I will keep fighting like hell to protect reproductive freedom in Michigan and make our state the best place to start, raise, and grow your family,” she said.

Michigan lawmakers introduced the package of bills in response to an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that recognized the personhood of preborn children created through IVF at the moment of fertilization. Because the destruction of human embryos is integral to the IVF process, the ruling immediately shut down several IVF clinics in Alabama until Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bipartisan bill to shield clinics from civil and criminal penalties when destroying human embryos.

Amber Roseboom, the president of Right to Life of Michigan, criticized the governor’s package of bills, calling it “a disgraceful election year attempt to mislead voters with the fantasy that IVF, prenatal care, and abortion are at risk in Michigan.”

The Catholic Church opposes both IVF and surrogacy because they separate the marital act from the process of procreation and result in the destruction of human embryonic life. Earlier this year, Pope Francis called surrogacy “deplorable” and called for a global ban on the exploitative practice of “so-called surrogate motherhood.”

“I deem deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” Francis said in a speech to ambassadors to the Vatican. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract.”

The Vatican intends to unveil a declaration on human dignity next week, which is expected to touch on several issues, including gender ideology and surrogacy.

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