Who's Your Momma? A Review of Surrogacy Rights of Partners in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Helps to Answer This Question.

December 27, 2007

In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that same sex marriages were legal in the Commonwealth. The landmark decision in Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health made same-sex unions legal in Massachusetts and applied all the benefits and laws regarding heterosexual marriages applicable to same-sex unions.

However, in the wake of Goodridge many questions arose regarding the semantics of the new law and the applicability of certain traditions to same-sex unions. Not least among these were questions regarding parental and adoption rights of same sex partners.

A popular option for same-sex couples wishing to have children has been surrogacy agreements. A surrogacy agreement is an agreement with an individual to carry and give birth to a child that may or may not share biological characteristics with one of the partners in a same-sex union. After the birth of the child, the surrogate relinquishes her parental rights, and the child is adopted by the partner who did not provide DNA for the child's conception.

While these agreements are legal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, they are also strictly monitored by the courts, and unless the agreement complies with the rigid standards required by Massachusetts law, they can be voided by the court system. Among these rules are the requirement that a surrogate mother be paid no compensation for her carrying and delivery of the child.

While the intended parents may, and usually do, pay all of the medical expenses associated with the pregnancy, no additional compensation may be given to the surrogate mother. Massachusetts courts have held that any surrogacy agreement ...

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by: Julie A. Dialessi-Lafley, Esq.

Healthcare Ledger
December 2007

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