An introduction to the laws of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in the State of Iowa
Whether you are considering becoming a donor or surrogate or you are a prospective intended parent, knowledge is power. To help in your family journey, experienced ART attorneys licensed in Iowa and fellows of The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) share expertise and provide an introduction to the laws of Assisted Reproduction Technology in IA.
Key Questions on ART Laws in Iowa
Generally, is Iowa friendly to ART? Iowa has become an ART friendly state.
Is Iowa friendly to non-married couples? Iowa is friendly to non-married couples to the extent that it does not restrict surrogacy based on marital relations. However, if one of the parents is not biologically related to the child, the parents must be married to do a streamlined second parent adoption.
Is Iowa friendly to LGBT families? Yes
Is Iowa friendly to a single intended parent? Iowa is friendly to single intended parents. Iowa courts will establish and disestablish paternal legal relationships in a pre-birth order and address maternal legal relationships in a Post-Birth Order. Iowa law permits the Post-Birth Order to establish a single parent.
Are there Iowa statutes in place for surrogacy? No, however, case law confirms surrogacy is legal.
Does Iowa have an embryo donation statute? Iowa does not have an embryo donation statute.
Does Iowa have an egg donation statute? Iowa does not have an egg donation statute.
Does Iowa permit gestational surrogacy (third party gamete use)? Iowa does permit gestational surrogacy with the use of a third-party gamete.
Is traditional surrogacy (use of the surrogate’s genetic material) permitted in Iowa? Traditional surrogacy is legally permitted; however, its status is much more uncertain. The biological mother/surrogate must follow the termination of parental rights process creating a longer legal process and less assurance to the intended parents that their rights are enforceable.
Is compensated surrogacy allowed by statute in Iowa? In practice? Iowa does not have any surrogacy statutes, but the Iowa Supreme Court upheld a surrogacy agreement protecting the intended parents’ rights.
Is uncompensated (expense reimbursement only) surrogacy allowed by statute in Iowa? In practice? Iowa does not have any surrogacy statutes, although court cases make clear surrogacy is allowed under Iowa law.
Does Iowa only permit a Carrier to be reimbursed for expenses (altruistic)? Iowa does not have restrictions outlining what reimbursements may be paid to a Carrier.
Are surrogacy agreements enforceable, void or prohibited in Iowa? Yes
In Iowa, do both intended parents have to be genetically related to the child? No. Both intended parents do not have to be genetically related to the child in Iowa. However, in order to secure the legal rights of a non-genetic parent, the parents must complete a streamlined second parent adoption following the issuance of a Post-Birth Order.
Does Iowa require at least one intended parent to be genetically related to the child? While Iowa does not require a genetic connection, an adoption must be completed if neither parent is genetically related to the child.
If a single intended parent uses surrogacy in Iowa, do they have to be genetically related to the child? While Iowa does not require a genetic connection, an adoption must be completed if the single parent is not genetically related to the child. Further, if there is a dispute and the gestational surrogate is the biological mother, the intended parent would be unlikely to prevail.
In Iowa, do the intended parents have to be married? Intended parents do not have to be married if they are both biologically related to the child. However, if one of the parents is not biologically related to the child, the parents must be married to do a streamlined second parent adoption.
Do two intended parents have to be opposite genders in Iowa? Iowa surrogacy practice does not make distinctions based on the gender of the parents.
Does Iowa allow pre-birth parentage orders to be issued for surrogacy? Iowa courts issue pre-birth parentage orders at the discretion of the judge.
Does Iowa only allow a post-birth parentage order to be issued? Most Iowa judges will issue pre-birth parentage orders terminating donors, the spouse of a surrogate and establishing the biological father’s legal rights. The post-birth order is necessary to terminate the surrogate’s legal rights and to establish an intended biological mother.
Can you obtain both a pre and post birth order in Iowa for the same child? Yes, the pre-birth order is the first step in the case to secure parental rights and assure the hospital acknowledges the intended parents’ participation. The pre-birth order may terminate the legal rights of the surrogate’s spouse, terminate the rights of any donors and establish the biological father’s legal rights. The post-birth order is later requested in the same legal case and is necessary to obtain a birth certificate. The post-birth order may terminate the surrogate’s legal rights and establish an intended biological mother.
Can you obtain a parentage order if only the carrier resides in Iowa? Iowa courts routinely issue parentage orders based on the residence of the gestational carrier.
Can you obtain a parentage order if only the intended parents reside in the State? Iowa courts will issue parentage orders based on the residence of the biologically related intended parent.
Can you obtain a parentage order if only the birth occurs in Iowa? Iowa courts will issue parentage orders based on a child being born in Iowa because at that time Iowa was the child’s home state.
Can you obtain a parentage order if only the medical procedures/IVF Clinic is in Iowa? Iowa laws do not address issuing parentage orders based on the location of the medical procedures; the jurisdiction would be less likely to be accepted.
What is the basis for venue in Iowa? Venue in Iowa and can be based on the residence of the gestational carrier, residence of the intended parents, location of the child’s birth and by consent of the parties.
Do results vary by venue in Iowa? Results in Iowa can vary by the presiding judge, which is dictated by the location of the court.
Is a hearing required for a parentage order in Iowa? A hearing on parentage is up to the discretion of the judge. In practice, hearings are rarely required for parentage orders.
Does Iowa have a passport office? Iowa offers numerous locations where a passport may be submitted.
How long does it take to obtain a birth certificate in Iowa? After the final order is issued (either post-birth order or adoption order) a birth certificate may take from two to four weeks from when the state receives a certified post-birth order to obtain.
Will Iowa vital records honor a parentage order from another state? The Iowa Department of Vital Statistics will honor a post-birth order from another state if the procedure outlined in Iowa’s Administrative Code describing the surrogacy procedure is followed. In addition, the order must contain all of the information outlined in the Iowa administrative law and be issued after the child’s birth.
Does Iowa’s vital records require a parentage order from another state to be registered? Iowa’s Department of Vital Statistics does not require a parentage order to be registered. However, the parentage order must be a post-birth order and contain all of the information and follow the process outlined in the Iowa administrative law.
How does an Iowa birth certificate list same-sex parents? Iowa birth certificates allow each parent to choose their label. Parents may choose from “mother,” “father” or “parent.” There is no difference for same-sex parents and the choice is separate for each parent.
Can an initial birth certificate be obtained naming the biological parent and the carrier in Iowa? The initial birth certificate may name whomever is listed in the post-birth order. If the birth certificate needs to have the carrier, the post-birth order must list her information and instruct her to be listed as the mother.
Can an Iowa birth certificate be amended to include only the biological parent or both intended parents? An Iowa birth certificate may be amended with a second post-birth order to remove a gestational carrier. An intended parent can only be included in the post-birth order if they are biologically related to the child. The birth certificate may also be amended after an adoption to include a nonbiologically related intended parent.
Do Iowa amended birth certificates say “amended” on them? Amended Iowa birth certificates do not have any notation that they are different or changed. There is no designation of a parent as “adopting” or “genetic.” Furthermore, once an Iowa birth certificate is amended, all prior versions are sealed so the public is unable to obtain a copy.
Can intended parents in an Iowa surrogacy obtain an adoption order? If one parent is not biologically related to the child, Iowa courts will do a streamlined second parent adoption process to secure the legal rights of the nonbiological parent.
Assisted Reproduction law and surrogacy involves many complex issues. Parties who are contemplating engaging in a surrogacy arrangement in the State of Iowa should not rely exclusively on these printed responses. All these issues should be discussed with an Iowa ART attorney who is experienced in surrogacy law. Answers to these questions will be impacted by numerous circumstances that are unique to your surrogacy arrangement.