“Do I need to adopt my child if I am not the genetic parent?”

“Will using an egg or sperm donor affect my legal rights?”

“Will the surrogate be on my child’s birth certificate?”

Hopeful LGBTQ parents ask these questions when they start to create their families.

If a child is born into a marriage or civil union between LGBTQ partners, an order of adoption or parentage is a requirement to create legal parentage for the parent who does not give birth to the child or has no genetic relationship to the child. Following the United States Supreme Court decision establishing the constitutional right to gay marriage, and recent LGBTQ-friendly legislation in New Jersey and New York, it is easier to obtain an order of adoption or parentage.

Birth certificates are rarely recognized as proof of parentage. This means that the non-gestating parent of a child or the parent without a genetic connection to the child in an LGBTQ family must use a second parent adoption or parentage proceeding to secure legal parentage rights.

And with gestational surrogacy, where neither partner carries the pregnancy, an order of parentage is essential. Under New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania laws and court decisions, LGBTQ intended parents can obtain orders of parentage establishing their rights even before the birth of their child through surrogacy.

Medical advances in assisted reproductive technology are leading to exciting new options for parenthood through egg, sperm, and embryo donation, as well as surrogacy, particularly for LGBTQ partners. Securing parental rights is a critical step in this ground-breaking family creation.