Surrogacy laws are different from state to state in US
Published on: 06/01/2016

Surrogacy has always been a controversial issue worldwide. In the US, one of the most expensive places for commercial surrogacy, the procedure could be complex. This is because the laws can vary from state to state.

It's been called "pregnancy for pay," or a "womb for rent." A woman - known as a surrogate - carrying another couple's baby. There's no biological connection. In the US, last year alone, more than 2-thousand children were born through such arrangements.

Dina Feivelson and her husband always wanted children. But after battling cancer, Dina was unable to carry her own.

A lawyer introduced the Feivelsons to Brandy Hummel, from Pennsylvania, who agreed to carry their twins - for a fee.

"People have a hard time understanding that just because we're carrying them they're not his, and they're not mine, and they're not gonna look like us when they're born. And so then we have to go into the whole story of 'it's not my eggs, it's not his sperm. It's their sperm, and their eggs. we're just carrying them," Hummel said.

Feivelson is from New York, one of four US states where compensated surrogacy is prohibited, and contracts are void. In Washington, DC, surrogacy is a crime. But Hummel is from one of 32 states which allows surrogacy, in one form or another. The dark green states are considered even more permissive than the light green ones. In 13 states, surrogacy is practiced to varying degrees, but with little or no legal protection.  And no federal law exists at all.

This documentary, released last year by an anti-surrogacy group in California hopes to convince lawmakers to ban the process nationwide. Advocates disagree, and say: it allows for life where it otherwise wouldn't be possible.

The price, including lawyer fees and compensation to the surrogate, can easily exceed $100,000. Making the US - regardless of which state - an option for some, but not everyone.

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