Legality of Surrogacy in Rhode Island
Gestational surrogacy in Rhode Island follows the typical two part process of other New England states. The process begins with a written legal contract between you and your surrogate (and her spouse, if she has one). You will review the contract with your own attorney, and the surrogate will do the same with her attorney. When everyone is satisfied with the contract, it is signed and your IVF clinic is notified that the embryo transfer can be scheduled.
The court order to secure your parentage will be handled in the Superior Court, where the judge uses his general equity powers (fancy lawyer talk for “do something that doesn’t make someone pay out money”). This allows the judge to declare that you, as the intended parents, are the child’s sole legal parents, whether or not you are genetically related to the child. This court ruling is documented in the pre-birth order (“PBO”) which will be relied upon to issue a birth certificate listing your names as the parents.
The Rhode Island Legislature is working on a possible new law to regulate surrogacy--we are keeping a close eye on this initiative!