Michigan Surrogacy Law
Michigan laws prohibit surrogacy contracts. In Michigan, these agreements are not only held as unenforceable, but the laws also impose fines up to $50,000.00 and a jail time of up to five years on anyone who enters into such a contract.
MCLS § 722.851-861 is referred to as the Surrogate Parenting Act. MCLS § 722.853 (i) defines a surrogate parentage contract as a contract, agreement, or arrangement in which a female agrees to conceive a child through natural or artificial insemination, or an agreement in which a female agrees to surrogate gestation, and to voluntarily relinquish her parental or custodial rights to the child. When a female agrees to conceive a child through natural or artificial insemination by a person other than her husband, or where a female agrees to surrogate gestation; through a contract, agreement, or arrangement which includes a provision, whether or not express, that the female will relinquish her parental or custodial rights to the child, it is a surrogate parentage contract.
Michigan courts have upheld the validity of this law. In the 1992 case of Doe v. Att’y Gen. several would-be participants in surrogacy arrangements challenged the law, arguing that the state had no compelling interest in prohibiting surrogacy. A Michigan Court of Appeals disagreed and found three compelling state interests: (1) preventing children from becoming commodities; (2) serving the best interests of children; and (3) preventing the exploitation of women. Further clarifying the surrogacy statute, the Court noted that any agreement involving conception and relinquishment of parental rights by the surrogate is void.
However, Michigan surrogacy case law is not entirely negative. In Syrkowski v Appleyard, while considering a surrogate mother’s rights, the Michigan Supreme Court held that under the state’s Paternity Act the biological father was allowed to petition for an order declaring his paternity and adding his name to the child’s birth certificate.