State Laws and Legislation

Maryland Surrogacy Law

Summary: While Maryland does not have a specific law that addresses surrogacy agreements, related laws might hold compensated agreements unenforceable. The issue of surrogacy agreements involving lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) individuals has not yet been considered by the courts.

Explanation: Maryland law bans payment for adoption services. It also prohibits the sale or purchase of minors and punishes this act by a fine and/or jail time. The question as to whether or not these laws apply to surrogacy agreements is widely contested among politicians and legal academics in the state. A 2000 opinion by the Maryland Attorney General indicates that surrogacy contracts involving the payment of a fee to the birth mother are generally illegal and unenforceable based on existing state law. This implies that the state does not consider uncompensated surrogacy contracts to be illegal. The Attorney General’s opinion also states that the payment of a surrogacy fee could not by itself bar approval of an adoption petition and that the decision to grant an adoption must turn on the best interests of the child.

There is no explicit prohibition in Maryland on LGBT couples jointly adopting a child, nor is there an explicit prohibition on LGBT individuals adopting a child of their same-sex partner.

Citations: Citations: MD. CODE ANN., FAM. LAW § 5-327 (2009); MD. CODE ANN., CRIM. LAW § 3-603 (2009); 85 Op. Md. Att'y Gen. 348 (December 19, 2000), 2000 Md. AG LEXIS 31; Abby Brandel, Legislating Surrogacy: A Partial Answer to Feminist Criticism, 54 Md. L. Rev. 488 (1995).

Updated: Tue, September 08, 2009 - 11:00:15