Netherlands v2

Surrogacy Insights


In the Netherlands, participation in surrogacy is regulated under Article 204(1)(d) of the book 1 Civil Code, emphasizing the stringent criteria for eligibility:


  • Surrogacy is limited to residents
  • While expenses can be reimbursed, commercial surrogacy is strictly prohibited
  • It is against the law to promote commercial surrogacy.
  • The intended parents cannot advertise for a surrogate.  This includes a ban on social media postings seeking a surrogate.
  • Private arrangements with a family member or acquaintance are the norm.


The female partner of the biological mother can obtain legal parentage of the child without court involvement through two methods:


  • She can either be automatically recognized as the child’s legal parent from birth, or
  • she can formally acknowledge the child before the Registrar of Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Registered Partnerships.



Latest Court Ruling on Surrogacy Abroad


In January 2023, the District Court of The Hague (ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2023:363) heard a surrogacy case involving two married men from the United States.  They had twins through surrogacy.  Even though both fathers were on the American birth certificate and the surrogate gave up parental rights, Dutch authorities refused registration.  This was because Dutch law requires the mother’s name on birth certificates.  There were also doubts about whether the surrogacy arrangement complied with Dutch rules.


The court found that the surrogacy process undertaken in the United States was meticulously executed.   The children’s complete history was documented, and plans were made to inform them about their background in an age-appropriate manner.  Regular contact with the surrogate mother was maintained, and the bond between the parties was described as a positive friendship.   The applicants had also taken steps to ensure transparency regarding the egg donor’s identity, facilitating potential future contact for the children.  Importantly, DNA testing confirmed the biological parentage of each child.


After reviewing the evidence and hearing testimonies, the court determined that the surrogacy arrangement in the United States adhered to recommended standards, aligning with Dutch legal guidelines.  Consequently, the birth certificates issued in the U.S. were deemed valid in the Netherlands.  Furthermore, parental authority was granted solely to the applicants. 




Future Legal Developments



A draft law on surrogacy was presented in April 2020 but has not yet been enacted.


June 2023

Minister Weerwind is spearheading a new surrogacy bill to lay down a robust legal framework for intended parents. Under this proposal, judges are empowered to designate intended parents as legal parents even before conception. Additionally, a comprehensive registry will be established to document surrogacy arrangements, accessible to all children born via surrogacy. Essential prerequisites include a genetic connection to at least one intended parent, compulsory counseling sessions for both the surrogate and intended parents, and legal representation for all involved parties. Furthermore, judges retain the authority to dismiss any petition that fails to prioritize the child’s best interests, irrespective of biological relationships. This legislation extends its reach to encompass surrogacy processes conducted abroad.



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