LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan is known to have some of the country’s most strict laws involving surrogacy. This week, a series of bills were introduced in Lansing that would shake up the state’s policies.
In 1988, the Michigan Surrogate Parenting Act took effect, which outlawed paid surrogacy and ruled that all surrogacy contracts are “unenforceable” even if compensation is not involved. The laws, now out of date with surrogacy science, have led to parents having to adopt their biological child.
“Michigan’s families have changed a lot in the last 30 years and our laws should reflect that. There are so many reasons why a family might have an untraditional route to parentage, such as health-related issues,” Rep. Samantha Steckloff, D-Farmington Hills, said.
On Wednesday, the state House judiciary committee heard testimony on a package of bills that would transform the state’s surrogacy laws.
“This package is about parentage and protecting our families, protecting and dignifying all of Michigan’s children, no matter how they were brought into this world,” Steckloff said.
The bills would repeal the Surrogate Parenting Act and replace it with the 2023 Michigan Family Protection Act. If made law, the legislation would that ensure children born via assisted reproduction or surrogacy can establish legal parentage with the intended parents, decriminalize surrogacy agreements and give children born through surrogacy or assisted production an opportunity to receive a birth certificate, among other changes.
“What if your child is born through a surrogate and has to go to the NICU? There are absolutely no laws in Michigan that protect that child, whose health insurance are they under and who are the intended parents? These are all those little things we need to fix,” Steckloff, one of the package’s sponsors, said.
One lawmaker on Wednesday asked questions about the effectiveness of new surrogacy laws.
“I understand it would be good for the children actually born into it, but absent unusual circumstances. is it something we want to encourage and why?” Rep. Andrew Fink, R-Hillsdale, asked.
In response, legal expert Polly Crozier, argued the bills would make sure all children’s rights are protected and potentially assist the state.
“We’re keeping cases out of court that don’t need to be in court. If we can establish parentage of a child at the hospital during birth, it’s going to save resources to state,” Crozier said.
There have been previous attempts to change Michigan’s surrogacy laws, but they didn’t make it to the governor’s desk.