After decades of imposing outdated parentage laws, New York, yesterday in a ground-breaking decision, revoked the ban on gestational surrogacy under the Child-Parent security act. This monumental reform was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in on April 3rd, 2020 and took effect on February 15th, 2021.
The biggest voices rallying behind this bill were Assembly Member Amy Paulin and Senator Brad Hoylman.
Senator Hoylman, himself a father of two daughters with husband David Sigal, remarked how they had to make several trips all the way to California just to have a surrogate birth their daughters, thanks to the archaic parental laws of New York where paid surrogacy was still going through comparisons to baby selling!
After years of activism by Hoylman and a host of allies, the state has finally legalized certain forms of paid surrogacy, with a vast slew of regulations to ensure surrogates are compensated and supported throughout the journey in the best ways possible.
"Health insurance has to be supplied, life insurance has to be supplied, physical examinations, mental examinations and the list goes on," says attorney Joseph Milizio.
However these regulations are not meant to intimidate potential intended parents, rather they have been put in place to provide maximum security and benefits to the surrogates. In short, instead of being a national outlier, New York will now become a leader, according to experts on surrogacy.
Some of these provisions include:
- The right to independent legal representation
- A guarantee of comprehensive medical coverage,
- The right to make their own health care decisions, including whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy.
"We went to California because it had the best laws," Hoylman said. "Now New York has the best law. We think it's a model for other states."
This new law will also enable people who, like Senator Hoylman, had to seek out-of-state surrogate arrangements, to stay more intimately involved throughout the process such as attending prenatal appointments, being in closer contact with the surrogate herself and of course, being their for the birth of your child.
Birthing a child via surrogacy is an extensive process that begins right from the fertility clinic with the first embryo transfer all the way up till receiving your baby's birth certificate. No parent would want geographical proximity getting in the way of bonding with their unborn child.
This new law is being hailed by the LGBTQ community, ttc/infertile couples, heterosexual couples, singles, as well as women who choose not to carry a pregnancy due to personal reasons.
And surrogates have started lining up already. “I just want to help. I want to provide meaning to someone’s life in a way that transcends myself, and what better way to do it than by helping somebody with a family they so deeply desire,” says Kitchin, a New York mother eager to give someone the gift of life.
With this landmark decision, people from a multitude of different communities and factions are rejoicing however, it's important to note that the law only allows paid surrogacy if the surrogate is not the biological parent. Meaning, the surrogate cannot use her own eggs to carry a surrogate pregnancy for a couple.
The New York surrogate statute is also stricter than other areas of the country by requiring the surrogate to live within the state and be paid a minimum of $34000 for the surrogacy, but the landmark decision is still being applauded by the vast majority of New Yorkers who will not have to look up to other states anymore for surrogacy arrangements.