27 March 2024

Michigan Senate Passes Landmark Legislation Overhauling State Surrogacy Laws Miller Johnson’s Melissa Neckers Represents Family at Center of Proposals

Grand Rapids, Mich. March 27, 2024 – In a historic move, the Michigan Senate voted on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 to overhaul the state’s surrogacy laws, marking a significant step forward in reproductive rights and family law within the state. The legislation, which passed with a decisive majority, brings long-awaited clarity and protection to individuals and families engaging in surrogacy arrangements.

The comprehensive overhaul addresses various aspects of surrogacy, including legal rights and responsibilities, financial considerations, and the establishment of clear procedures for surrogacy agreements and naming legal parents. The Michigan House of Representatives already approved the surrogacy bills, meaning they now head to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for final signatures.

At the forefront of this legislative effort is Melissa L. Neckers, an assisted reproduction attorney at Miller Johnson. Through her representation of many clients including Tammy and Jordan Myers who were forced to adopt their biological twins born via surrogate, Neckers has been a vocal advocate for reforming Michigan’s surrogacy laws, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the rights of intended parents, surrogates, and children born through surrogacy and assisted reproduction.

“The passage of this package of bills is monumental for families” Neckers stated. “Additionally, the new law provides clarity for judges, hospitals, vital records and insurance companies who have been asking for guidance related to parentage of children born via assisted reproduction.”

Passing this legislation follows months of collaborative efforts between legislators, legal experts, advocacy groups, and stakeholders from across the state. Through extensive deliberations and consultations, lawmakers crafted a bill that addresses the complexities of surrogacy while upholding ethical standards and protecting the interests of all involved.

Key provisions of the legislation include:

Legal Recognition: Clarification of parental rights and responsibilities, ensuring that intended parents are recognized as the legal parents of children born through surrogacy and other assisted reproduction arrangements.

Surrogate Protections: Establishment of safeguards to protect the rights and well-being of surrogates, including independent, legal representation throughout the process.

Enforceability of Surrogacy Agreements: Provide recourse for parties if others involved do not act in accordance with the agreed upon terms.

Protection for Donors: Clarification regarding the rights and responsibilities of embryo and gamete donors.

Passing this legislation has been hailed as a significant victory for reproductive rights and family law in Michigan. Advocates anticipate that the updated legal framework will allow more individuals and couples to pursue surrogacy as a means of building their families, while providing assurance and protection throughout the process.

Rep. Samantha Steckloff (D–Farmington Hills) applauded the bills’ passage with the following statement:

“Today marks a resounding victory for all Michiganders. I’ve been working tirelessly on this legislation for years, so I’m thrilled that this package has finally passed both the House and Senate. Now our laws are set to protect people’s right to decide when and how to grow their family — an achievement made possible by the hard work and dedication of all those who supported this effort. These laws will not only protect the rights of patients and medical professionals, but also pave the way for countless families who rely on IVF as their path to parenthood. As we celebrate this victory, let’s continue to advocate for reproductive autonomy and ensure fertility treatments are accessible to all who need them.”

The Michigan Senate’s vote to overhaul the state’s surrogacy laws signals a new era of progress and inclusivity in reproductive rights, setting a precedent for other states to follow. Supported by advocates like Melissa Neckers and the dedication of lawmakers, Michigan is moving towards a more equitable and compassionate approach to surrogacy.

For media inquiries or interviews with Melissa Neckers, please contact Lance Hartman, Director of Communications, at or 616.831.1861.


About Miller Johnson

Since 1959, Miller Johnson has been Michigan-based and has served clients worldwide. A full-service firm providing legal counsel to businesses and individuals in corporate matters, employment and labor law, litigation, and private client representation, Miller Johnson specializes in various areas of law, including reproductive law, family law, and healthcare law. With a team of experienced attorneys dedicated to providing comprehensive legal services, Miller Johnson advocates for the rights and interests of its clients.


Media Contact:

Lance Hartman

Director of Communications