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GESTATIONAL SURROGACY IN IOWA

The Iowa Code implicitly permits Gestational Surrogacy. First, it specifically exempts surrogacy agreements from Iowa Code §710.11, which prohibits the purchase or sale of an individual.
 
Second, Section 641-99.15 of the Iowa Code outlines the precise steps for Vital Records to take in issuing birth certificates to children born to Gestational Carriers.

PRE-BIRTH PARENTAGE ORDERS

Do courts grant pre-birth parentage orders?  Yes, but it is only a partial order.  Under the Iowa Code, the woman bearing the child is presumed to be the legal mother.  Therefore, only the Intended Father (if a heterosexual couple) or the biological father (if a same-sex couple) can obtain a pre-birth order, requiring a 2-step process. The non-biological parent must then undergo a post-birth process, either in Iowa or elsewhere, to terminate the Gestational Carrier’s rights and establish the second parent’s legal rights.
 
Can both Intended Parents be declared the legal parents in a pre-birth order if at least one parent is genetically related to the child?
 

  • Married heterosexual couple using own egg and own sperm: No, only the Intended Father can obtain a pre-birth order, requiring a 2-step process. The (biological) Intended Mother can then obtain a post-birth parentage order establishing her parentage and ordering an amended birth certificate.
  • Married heterosexual couple using an egg donor or sperm donor: No, similar to above, except the non-biological parent must do a stepparent adoption to establish parentage.
  • Unmarried heterosexual couple using own egg and own sperm: No, just like a married heterosexual couple.
  • Unmarried heterosexual couple using an egg donor or sperm donor: No, just like an unmarried heterosexual couple using a donor.
  • Same-sex couple using an egg donor or sperm donor: No, the biological parent can generally obtain a pre-birth order, requiring a 2-step process.  A second-parent adoption is then recommended for the non-biological Intended Parent.
  • Single parent using own egg or sperm: A pre-birth order is possible, but a post- birth order is also needed in most cases.

 
Can both Intended Parents be declared the legal parents in a pre-birth order if no parent is genetically related to the child?

  • Married heterosexual couple: No, an adoption is recommended.
  • Unmarried heterosexual couple: No, an adoption is recommended.
  • Single parent: No, an adoption is recommended.
  • Same-sex couple: No, an adoption is recommended.

What are the bases for venue?  The county of the child’s birthplace, the county of the Gestational Carrier’s residence
 
Do results vary by county?  Yes 
 
If yes, are motions to waive venue accepted?  Yes, generally.
 
Is a hearing required to obtain a pre-birth order?  Yes, most likely. Hearings may take place by telephone at the judge’s discretion. 
 
Is a pre-birth order possible in Iowa based on a Gestational Carrier’s plan to deliver in Iowa, if no party lives in Iowa?  Yes 
 
Will Iowa Vital Records honor a pre-birth order from another state?  Possibly.Generally, it is honored when the pre-birth order contains the information deemed necessary by Iowa Vital Records and complies with Iowa Administrative Code.   
 
What is the typical time frame to obtain a birth certificate after delivery?  Several weeks

Same-Sex Couples

How are same-sex parents named on the final birth certificate?  The Iowa Supreme Court concluded in Gartner v. Iowa Dept. of Pub. Health that The Iowa Department of Public Health must include both parents’ names on the child’s birth certificate, regardless of gender. However, naming the parents as “Parent and Parent” has not been seen in practice.
 
Can an international same-sex male couple obtain an initial birth certificate naming the biological father and Gestational Carrier?  Most likely, yes.
 
Can they subsequently obtain a birth certificate naming only the biological father or both fathers, with no mention of the Gestational Carrier?  Yes, most likely, after a second parent adoption.   
 
Can the non-biological parent obtain a second parent adoption based solely on the fact that the child was born in Iowa (i.e., neither of the Intended Parents lives in Iowa)?  Yes

SECOND PARENT & STEP PARENT ADOPTIONS FOR IOWA RESIDENTS

Note: This situation typically arises if the child is born outside of the state.  The parents then return to Iowa to obtain a second parent adoption or stepparent adoption in Iowa.

Will courts in Iowa grant second parent adoptions or stepparent adoptions to heterosexual couples living in Iowa?  Yes, and the process does not require the formalities of an adoption, such as a home study.
Does the couple need to be married?  
No
 
Will courts in Iowa grant second parent adoptions or stepparent adoptions to same-sex couples living in Iowa?  
Yes
Does the couple need to be married?  
No

EGG AND SPERM DONATION

Is there a statute or published case law that addresses the rights of a donor over the resulting eggs, sperm, embryo or child?  No

TRADITIONAL SURROGACY IN IOWA

Traditional Surrogacy is not recommended in Iowa.

State law information provided by the following attorneys practicing Reproductive Law in this state:
 
Emilee Gehling, Goosmann Law Firm
Sioux City, IA
Dakota Dunes and Sioux Falls, SD
Emilee@goosmannlaw.com
www.goosmannlaw.com
(712) 226-4000
 
Lori Klockau
Iowa City, IA
www.brayklockau.com
(319) 338-7968
 
Shayla McCormally
Des Moines, IA
smccormally@2501grand.com
http://wandroandassociates.com
(515) 281-1475

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