Surrogacy is an arrangement between a woman and a couple or individual to carry and deliver a baby. Couples who face obstacles in pregnancy, such as infertility, often look to surrogacy as a final option when treatments and medications fail. Unfortunately for couples who are struggling to start a family, surrogacy has been surrounded by controversy for decades and is not legal in all fifty states.
Arizona is one of six states that has strict laws forbidding surrogate parenting. State Legislature says that “No person may enter into, induce, arrange, procure or otherwise assist in the formation of a surrogate parentage contract.” Arizona public policy prohibits traditional surrogacy contract in which the surrogate mother is the biological contributor of the egg, as well as gestational agreements in which the surrogate mother is not the biological mother of the egg.
Arizona’s stern surrogate laws were created based on social, ethical and legal reasons. A social issue that creates controversy is that of the financial profit that the carrier is entitled to. The large sum that the surrogate mother gets from the procedure, usually about $10,000, has made people question motives. A social counterargument is that adoption is an easy way to raise a child, and save them from a life of foster homes at the same time. Social arguments generally take the freedom to choose to create a biological child out of the question.
The state is also concerned with the issue of victimizing women and selling babies, or human trafficking. Human trafficking is the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through the use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them. Human trafficking can occur within national borders, but usually exists internationally. Because Arizona lies on the border of Mexico, state officials are especially concerned with the possibility of “baby brokers” if the practice of surrogacy is made legal.
Even though Arizona has banned surrogacy, the practice continues. If surrogacy occurs, Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 25, Section 218 declares the surrogate as the legal mother who is entitled to custody of the child, and establishes a rebuttable presumption that the surrogate’s husband is the father.
Surrogacy agreements involving GLBT couples have not yet been considered by Arizona law officials.