The shalls and shall nots of surrogacy

Spotted in a surrogacy agreement...

It's no mystery why intended parents want to protect and even control the surrogacy process: can anything be more important than the well-being of your future child? But some asks may go too far.

Surrogacy agreements set out the arrangements between intended parents and surrogates. We don't know much about them because they are mostly kept secret. (More about that in a future newsletter.) In the last of the September newsletters, which have all focused on surrogacy, I share with you some prohibitions and exhortations drawn from a collection of American and Canadian surrogacy agreements. 

"Spotted in..." is an occasional feature where I share tidbits from documentary sources.

The Gestational Carrier agrees


  • no saccharine

  • no aspartame

  • no nitrates

  • no caffeine

  • no vegetarianism


  • no air travel during first and third trimester

  • no leaving the continental US

  • no leaving the state (without prior written consent of a doctor)

  • no travelling more than 100 miles from home (after week 20)

  • no travelling more than 100 miles from a hospital (in third trimester)

  • no travelling more than 30 minutes from a hospital (in third trimester)

Personal Life

  • no swimming in lakes or oceans

  • no riding a bike outside

  • no standing for long periods of time

  • no hair dye

  • no perms

  • no perfume around the time of embryo transfer

  • no routine dental cleaning (without written approval of doctor)

  • no moving out of state (without approval of intended parents)

  • no becoming involved in a sexual relationship (without notifying the intended parents)

  • no sex without condoms

  • no getting married prior to transfer, during the pregnancy, or for 10 months after the birth

  • agrees to be randomly tested for controlled substances at any time

  • agrees that any blood, urine or tissue taken from her for any reason can be used for random drug testing for any substance she's been asked not to use

  • agrees to waive her right to revoke her consent (for release of medical records or test results)

  • agrees to waive her right to a trial to resolve any dispute arising out of the agreement (binding arbitration only)

End of Life

  • agrees to be put on life support at IP request 

  • agrees that IPs get to decide how long she stays on life support

  • agrees to stay on life support until the child is born or the pregnancy is no longer viable

  • agrees to have no living will that will conflict with IPs’ life support requests

  • agrees that the terms of this agreement will prevail over any directive or the requests of any person appointed to make health care decisions on her behalf

If you have information that you think would make people pause — about surrogacy or any other aspect of reproductive technology — get in touch with me at I do not need to identify you.

All this month I have focused on issues relating to surrogacy. If you want to review any of these pieces, go to, and scroll down to go backwards in time. At the very end is a "view archive" link, which takes you to where items are listed by title and date. 

Next month I will move on to stories relating to sperm. If you know anyone who was a sperm donor, needed a sperm donor, is thinking of using a sperm donor or was conceived via sperm donation -- and who you think would find the HeyReprotech newsletter interesting -- please let them know they can sign up at Over the next several weeks I will also introduce stories on topics ranging from egg donation to preimplantation genetic testing to secrecy, and I will continue to report on surrogacy.

Thanks for your patience as HeyReprotech finds its feet. I apologize in advance for any typos, errors, technical glitches and oversights. Special thanks to those of you who are supporting this work by choosing to be paying subscribers.


If you have ever been a surrogate, please consider adding yourself anonymously to SurroMap, a map I'm building to better describe how surrogacy takes place globally. To place yourself on the map, just answer nine quick questions here. A full map and article based on the data collected will follow sometime next year. 

Get in touch

If you have something to share about any topic related to reproductive technology, please get in touch: or 416-465-0497.

Follow me @HeyReprotech.