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Gov. Whitmer Signs Bills Decriminalizing Surrogacy and Protecting IVF


April 1, 2024 



Gov. Whitmer Signs Bills Decriminalizing Surrogacy and Protecting IVF 

Package of commonsense, pro-family bills removes criminal prohibitions on surrogacy and ensures LGBTQ+ parents are treated equally


LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the Michigan Family Protection Act, a package of commonsense bills that make it easier for Michiganders to start a family, save time and money on government paperwork, and be treated equally under the law. The package repeals an unjust ban that made Michigan the only state in the nation to criminalize surrogacy contracts, and better protects surrogates, parents, and children so that more Michiganders have the support they need to start a family. 


“Decisions about if, when, and how to have a child should be left to a family, their doctor, and those they love and trust, not politicians,” said Governor Whitmer. “If we want more people and families to ‘make it’ in Michigan, we need to support them with the resources they need to make these deeply personal, life-changing choices. The Michigan Family Protection Act takes commonsense, long-overdue action to repeal Michigan’s ban on surrogacy, protect families formed by IVF, and ensure LGBTQ+ parents are treated equally. Your family’s decisions should be up to you, and my legislative partners and I will keep fighting like hell to protect reproductive freedom in Michigan and make our state the best place to start, raise, and grow your family.” 


"I am so pleased to see the passage of the Michigan Family Protection Act,” said Jill Rudnitzky Brand, the first child born through gestational surrogacy. “When I was born in 1986, luckily, a judge ruled that my parents were legally my parents from birth. However, since 1988, that has not been the case for Michigan families. I am happy that those going through surrogacy in the state no longer have to worry about the whims of a judge's ruling around whose names should be on the child's birth certificate. I am glad to see the antiquated 1988 law scrapped once and for all."


“Today, we are taking tangible action to show the rest of the nation that Michigan is a place where anyone can pursue their dreams of parenthood without unnecessary hurdles,” said Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids). “After years of fighting hard to grant Michiganders the freedom to grow their families through surrogacy, it's an incredible relief and honor to be here today as this long-awaited legislation is finally signed into law.” 


“This is an incredible victory for all Michigan families formed through assisted reproduction, including IVF and surrogacy, and for LGBTQ+ families,” said Stephanie Jones, Founder of the Michigan Fertility Alliance. “With this law, all Michigan families will now have equitable access to safe and secure parent-child relationships, and our state will have legal safeguards for family building through surrogacy, protecting all involved - parents, children, and surrogates. This family-focused law came to fruition thanks to the grit and unwavering determination of our grassroots group of parents with the support of advocates and experts. We’re grateful to Governor Whitmer, legislative champion Representative Steckloff, and all our legislators who have listened to our stories and understand the importance of supporting and protecting all children, families, and family-building opportunities in our state. We hope Michigan can serve as an example for other states where outdated laws still leave families vulnerable.” 


MI family act 2


MI Family Act


Michigan Family Protection Act 

The Michigan Family Protection Act is comprised of nine bills—House Bills 5207 through 5215. Together, these bills support parents, children born through surrogacy or IVF, and LGBTQ+ parents who deserve to be treated equally. Specifically, the bills will: 

  • Legalize and regulate surrogacy, allowing Michiganders to have children in an environment that protects the children, the parents, and the surrogates. 
  • Align with the best practices by ensuring that individuals who serve as surrogates are fairly compensated, have their own legal representation, and are screened by medical professionals before entering into an agreement.  
  • Ensure children born by surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology (including IVF) are treated equally under the law.  
  • Change outdated state law to treat LGBTQ+ families equally and eliminate the need for them to go through a costly and invasive process to get documentation confirming their parental status. Even if they move to a state that does not respect these basic rights, these bills help ensure they cannot be denied their relationship to their child.  
  • Make it easier and cheaper for all Michigan families to get formal recognition of their parental relationship to their children. 


“Seeing these bills through to the governor has been one of the most challenging, emotional and rewarding efforts of my legislative career. I couldn’t have done it without my partners at the Capitol, around Michigan and across the nation who have worked so hard to make this long-overdue change to state law,” said state Rep. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills), lead sponsor of the package. “For the couples that have relied on IVF to start or grow their families; for those who wanted to turn to surrogacy but couldn’t execute a contract; for parents struggling to adopt their own biological children — today is a new day. With protections for IVF, legal surrogacy contracts and clear legal links between parent and child, Michigan is a freer and more welcoming state today than we were yesterday.”


“Today marks an exciting moment in our ongoing fight to protect people’s freedom to decide when and how to start a family,” said state Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (D-East Lansing). “Having personally experienced the life-changing impact of IVF, I know the profound significance these treatments can provide people. That’s why I’m so proud that we’re safeguarding these rights in Michigan. This is a promise to every individual and couple that they have the right and autonomy to plan their pathway to parenthood — and experience the joy of bringing life into this world, if they choose.”  


“This bill package is important for Michiganders, and today is a memorable and very significant day as it becomes law,” said state Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw), sponsor of HB 5215. “Michigan is the last state in the nation to legalize contractual surrogacy. As a father of three, I know how important and meaningful it is to grow your family, and today we are allowing Michiganders the choice to determine when, how or if they will grow a family. Dems are committed to securing your reproductive health rights.” 


Protecting Reproductive Freedom

As other states seek to restrict IVF, ban abortion, and make it harder to start a family, Michigan is supporting women and protecting reproductive freedoms for everyone. 


In 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, taking away the constitutional right to abortion that American women had for half a century. Many states either passed or had preexisting bans on abortion that went into effect. Michigan had a pre-existing law on the books banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest and criminalizing nurses and doctors for providing reproductive health care.  


In November 2022, Michiganders voted overwhelmingly to pass Proposal 3, which enshrined the right to reproductive freedom in the Michigan constitution. This action protected the right to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management, and infertility in the Michigan constitution.  


Since then, attacks on reproductive freedom have continued. Last month, Right to Life Michigan filed a lawsuit challenging Proposal 3, threatening access to IVF, prenatal care, and other reproductive health care.  


More recently, the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling to take IVF away from families put this procedure used by millions of Americans to have children every year at risk. There have been bills introduced in over a dozen other states and at the federal level that would ban IVF.