Gay and lesbian couples should keep in mind Louisiana laws that can affect same-sex reproduction.
Laws affecting same-sex family building differ from state to state. We encourage you to learn as much as you can about how Louisiana laws can affect your decision to pursue a family. A good resource is Family Equality Council’s publication Louisiana LGBTQ Family Law Guide, a handbook intended to be an overview of the current state of LGBTQ-law in Louisiana.
Laws can be confusing, and we encourage you to seek the help of a reproductive law specialist to help you navigate your family building path. Ask your fertility team for a referral to an expert in Louisiana assisted reproductive technologies law to help you navigate the egg or sperm donation contracts as well as intrafamily adoptions.
Louisiana Laws that Affect Same-Sex Family Building
Family building using assisted reproduction technologies for same-sex couples in Louisiana changed considerably with a Louisiana law that took effect in August 2016. This law sets up a legal framework for surrogate/gestational carrier arrangements to protect both the carrier and the intended parents. However, the language of the law can be problematic for nontraditional intended parents, especially gay men looking to build a family. It defines the intended parents as a “man and a woman,” preventing same-sex couples from using gestational surrogacy to become parents. The bill further requires that the embryo used in gestational surrogacy come from the egg and sperm of the intended parents, precluding same-sex couples as well as singles or heterogenous intended parents who are unable to reproduce.
Louisiana expressly prohibits the sale of genetic material, and therefore the “sale” of a human ovum (egg) or sperm is prohibited. However, “donation” is legal and donors can be compensated for their time and discomfort throughout the donation process. This allows the donation process to be relatively easy in Louisiana. The parties need an egg donation or sperm donation contract which explains the parental rights and protects all the parties involved.
For lesbian couples who are married, the non-biological parent can complete an Intrafamily Adoption six months after the birth of the child. The couple must be legally married in any state. It is a complicated process but can be done statewide now.