Straddling the Columbia: A Constitutional Law Professor's Musings on Circumventing Washington State's Criminal Prohibition on Compensated Surrogacy

76 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2015

See all articles by Peter Nicolas

Peter Nicolas

University of Washington School of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

In this Article, I recount — through the prisms of both an intended parent and a constitutional law scholar — my successful efforts to become a parent via compensated surrogacy and egg donation. Part I of this Article provides a narrative of my experience in becoming a parent via compensated surrogacy, and the various state and federal legal roadblocks and deterrents that I encountered along the way, including Washington State’s criminal prohibition on compensated surrogacy as well as federal guidelines issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding the use of sperm by gay donors in the process of in vitro fertilization. Part II of this Article considers the extent to which laws that criminalize or otherwise restrict one’s ability to enter into surrogacy arrangements run afoul of either the substantive protections of the Due Process Clause or the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause. Part III of this Article considers the extent to which laws that stand in the way of intended parents establishing legal parentage of children born via surrogacy violate those same constitutional guarantees.

I conclude that laws that restrict one’s ability to enter into surrogacy arrangements violate both the long-recognized fundamental right to procreate as well as a more specifically articulated fundamental right to procreate with the assistance of third parties, while laws that stand in the way of intended parents establishing legal parentage of children born via surrogacy violate the fundamental right to care for and have custody of one’s children. In addition, I demonstrate that some of these restrictive statutory schemes can also be challenged on the ground that they violate the equal protection rights not only of those seeking to have children via surrogacy, but also the children born to them.

Keywords: surrogacy, surrogate mothers, assisted reproductive technology (ART), gay men, gay parenting

Suggested Citation

Nicolas, Peter, Straddling the Columbia: A Constitutional Law Professor's Musings on Circumventing Washington State's Criminal Prohibition on Compensated Surrogacy (2014). Washington Law Review, Vol. 89, No. 4, Pp. 1235-1309, 2014; University of Washington School of Law Research Paper No. 2014-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2549287

Peter Nicolas (Contact Author)

University of Washington School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States

HOME PAGE: https://www.law.washington.edu/directory/profile.aspx?ID=150

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