The Rhode Island Parentage Act

We are so excited about what’s happening in Rhode Island. Our friends at GLAD and RESOLVE New England have been hard at work trying to get the Rhode Island Parentage Act passed by the Rhode Island Legislature.  

New England Surrogacy has officially signed on in support of this bill because it’s a good bill for intended parents and a good bill for gestational surrogates. Let me tell you a bit about how this bill would impact surrogacy if it becomes a law.

Rhode Island currently has a process that relies on the cooperation of a lot of folks—such as the intended parents, the surrogate and the judge. This process can work very well, when it works. But you may remember a situation a few years ago when one judge stopped issuing pre-birth orders. When there’s no law in place, there’s an awful lot that’s left to the judge’s discretion. “Discretion” is fancy lawyer talk for “the judge gets to do what he/she wants.”  So the issuance of pre-birth orders got a bit off track until a new judge started hearing these cases.

So the benefit of having a law on the books is that it provides clear guidance to everyone about how the system works. No more babies being left in the lurch. That’s a good thing.  

 Here are some surrogacy-related highlights of the Rhode Island bill:

  • The bill clarifies that an egg donor is not a parent. Woohoo—intended parents want this to be clear and egg donors want this to be clear too—a win-win for everyone!

  • The bill sets minimum requirements for gestational carriers in Rhode Island. These are just the bare minimums. At New England Surrogacy, our internal requirements for candidates go well above and beyond these minimums.

  • The bill sets requirements for intended parents. Don’t worry—everyone—whether straight or gay, married or unmarried, male or female—can become an intended parent. But there is a well-defined process you must go through to be eligible to participate. We will walk you through all of this!

  • The bill sets forth the minimum standards for gestational carrier contracts. At New England Surrogacy, we follow best practices for these contracts and you will ALWAYS have your own attorney walk you through the legal contract part of the process.  

  • The bill describes how orders of parentage would work in Rhode Island. These are similar to—but not quite the same as—pre-birth orders. I’m especially proud of the fact that the bill borrows from language I initially drafted for New Hampshire when we were changing the New Hampshire surrogacy laws.

  • And the birth certificate will name the intended parents but not the surrogate. YAY!!

All good stuff for the people of Rhode Island!  We look forward to this bill getting signed into law.  Keep those fingers, toes and eyes crossed for Rhode Island to be the next state to get surrogacy laws into place.


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