Legislation that would enable surrogacy contracts has been heard in committee in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and is expected to go to the governor this session. That’s the word from Maple Grove attorney Glen Norton, the legislative chair for the Minnesota State Bar Association Family Law Section. The MSBA General Assembly has backed the legislation.
Senate File 2965 sets forth both the law regarding gestational carrier contracts and also contains provisions regarding the rights of the parties in cases of donated embryos. The latter sets up a scheme similar to the existing law regarding the parental rights of sperm donors, or more accurately, the absence thereof. When an embryo is donated, the donor is not treated as a biological parent; the intended parents are treated as parents under the law, assuming the requirements outlined in the bill are followed.
The gestational contract provisions regulate both gestational carriers and intended parents. Parental rights would vest immediately upon the child’s birth under the legislation. The bill also provides for legal or equitable damages to either party if the contract is breached.
Surprisingly, no opposition to the legislation has materialized, Norton said. The bill does not address the controversial subject of how to deal with embryos that are not fertilized. Additional legislation on that may be needed in the future, Norton said.