Oregon law appears to allow only uncompensated surrogacy arrangements. The statute prohibiting “buying or selling a person” has an explicit exemption for “fees for services in an adoption pursuant to a surrogacy agreement.” This appears to codify the conclusion of a 1989 opinion issued by the attorney general, which indicated that the state may invalidate any agreement in which money is exchanged for the right to adopt a child, particularly when the birth mother contests it. The case law confirms that if a surrogate mother is compensated for her consent to adoption under a surrogacy contract, the contract is unenforceable. However, it appears that a surrogacy arrangement in which the compensated surrogate mother would have carried the baby with or without pay would be upheld. In one case in 1994, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld an uncontested surrogacy arrangement, refusing to invalidate the agreement even though payment to the surrogate mother exceeded her pregnancy-related expenses. The Court emphasized that the facts indicated the surrogate would have entered into the agreement even without compensation and that she was not seeking to withdraw her consent for the adoption of the child. However, this case was decided before the statutory provision discussed above was passed by the legislature.
Citations: Office of the Attorney General of the State of Oregon, No. 8202, 46 Op. Atty. Gen. Ore. 221 (April 19, 1989); In the Matter of the Adoption of Baby A and Baby B, 877 P.2d 107 (Or. Ct. App. 1994).