Recent debates about surrogacy present some of the most complex and compelling human rights issues of our time – including family rights for LGBTQIA people, ethical issues in assisted reproduction, and race, gender, and disability justice. Surrogacy is a global form of family formation wherein a person agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child that another person(s) intend to parent. Although often undertaken by infertile different-sex couples, surrogacy is also an important form of family formation for the LGBTQIA community. Because surrogacy implicates the rights and interests of multiple stakeholders, it critical to use a human rights framework informed by the values of the reproductive justice, disability rights and justice, and LGBTQIA movements. This panel will explore surrogacy in the U.S. where there are no federal laws and state laws vary widely, ranging from complete bans to varying levels of authorization. Across the country, state legislatures are considering new surrogacy laws—to either fill a gap in law or to reform existing laws. It is critical that these laws incorporate a human rights framing to ensure that the rights of all parties are protected, including persons who act as surrogates. This panel will 1) provide an overview of the current legal landscape of surrogacy laws in the United States; 2) share a set of human rights-based guiding principles on compensated gestational surrogacy developed to inform proactive state legislative efforts, and 3) explain current parentage laws and the role of surrogacy in family formation for the LGBTQIA community.
Speakers: Courtney Joslin (UC Davis School of Law); Cathy Sakimura (National Center for Lesbian Rights); Karla Torres (Center for Reproductive Rights)