New York's new surrogacy law has come into effect, ending a ban on commercial surrogacy in the state.
The Child Parent Security Act establishes legal criteria for gestational surrogacy agreements that provide protections for parents and surrogates and ensure parties provide informed consent throughout the process.
'For far too long, LGBTQ+ New Yorkers and New Yorkers struggling with fertility were denied the opportunity to start a family because of arbitrary and archaic laws' said New York governor Andrew Cuomo. 'With this law now in effect, no longer will anyone will be blocked from the joys of starting a family and raising children simply because of who they are.'
Commercial surrogacy was previously illegal in New York state, and non-paid 'altruistic' surrogacy agreements were deemed unenforceable and not legally binding. The first bill seeking to repeal the ban was introduced in 2012 but was opposed by both the Roman Catholic Church and some feminists, who argued that paid surrogacy led to the exploitation of women. Another bill with a greater focus on LGBTQ+ rights was passed by the New York Senate in 2019 but met with similar objections.
Addressing these concerns, the recent legislation includes stricter protection through a 'Surrogates' Bill of Rights', to ensure the unfettered right of surrogates to make their own healthcare decisions, including whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy, and that surrogates have access to comprehensive health insurance and independent legal counsel of their choosing, all paid for by the intended parents.
Lawyer Vicki Ferrara, founder and legal director of Worldwide Surrogacy in Fairfield, Connecticut said the new law 'brings surrogacy into a new realm of ethics that we haven't seen in other states.'
'Ethical surrogacy practices that are optional in some states will now be statutorily required in New York. And no out-of-state surrogacy agency can operate in New York without obtaining a state licence, thereby becoming obligated to follow the new regulations' she told ABC News.
The act also addresses other issues that can be faced by couples creating their families using surrogacy or gamete donation, by creating a streamlined process for establishing parenthood when one of the individuals is a non-biological parent. Known as 'second parent adoption' the process that allows same-sex partners to be recognised as legal parents to their partner's biological child, now only requires a single visit to court during the pregnancy.