Surrogacy in the News: What are the current laws in New York and what is being done to change them?
New York is one of only two states that don’t allow surrogacy contracts. Under current law, paid surrogacy is punishable by a fine and unpaid surrogacy agreements are not legally binding. New York code section 8-122 states that “surrogate parenting contracts are hereby declared contrary to the public policy of this state and are void and unenforceable.” But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says, “New York’s surrogacy ban is based in fear, not love, and it’s past time we updated our antiquated laws to help LGBTQ couples and people struggling with fertility use commonplace reproductive technology to start families.”
Governor Cuomo included lifting the ban on surrogacy in his annual State of the State speech as one of his top legislative objectives for 2020. Last year a bill passed the State Senate but stalled in the Assembly where the Democratic leader said he was concerned about the process becoming “commercialized”. The proposed legislation will establish criteria for surrogacy contracts which would provide the nation’s strongest protections for both surrogates and intended parents as well as streamline the process for 2nd parent adoptions. The bill (A.1071/S.2071) would create a Surrogate’s Bill of Rights giving surrogate’s the unrestricted right to make their own healthcare decisions including whether or not to terminate a pregnancy and access to comprehensive healthcare and independent legal counsel at the cost of the intended parents.
Additionally, the bill would create legal protections for parents of children conceived by reproductive technology. The process of 2nd parent adoption can take about a year and cost upwards of $5000 (lawyer’s fees, court fees, fees for mandatory home visits from a social worker, etc.). Petitioning parents must also provide a letter from their employer stating their current position and salary, a letter from their primary physician and the child’s pediatrician stating they are in good health, a list of every residence the petitioning parent has lived in for the past 28 years and relevant financial information, as well as fingerprints for a background check. The proposed legislation would eliminate these burdensome and expensive barriers, and instead, require a single visit to court to establish legal parenthood which would often be able to be done while the baby is still in utero.
Here at Love and Kindness Surrogacy, we hope New York will be allowing surrogacy soon, and that Michigan will follow suit. If you live in one of these states and are interested in becoming a surrogate, we welcome you to start the application process and we will hold onto your application and contact you when it becomes legal. If you are a hopeful parent in one of these states, contact us to find out how we can still help you reach your dream. Our team is on top of all of the moving pieces, regulations, and technical terms to help guide you through this process every step of the way.