UPDATE: On June 11, 2019, the New York State Assembly passed the Child-Parent Security Act. The bill officially moves on to the Assembly for a final decision before becoming New York law.Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his support for the Child-Parent Security Act in a speech at the 2019 Human Rights Campaign Greater New York Gala in early February. The bill was originally introduced in 2012 but has been gaining national attention—and legislative momentum—over the past few weeks. On February 27, 2019, the bill officially passed the New York Assembly Judiciary Committee with a 13-to-3 vote.
That means that New York is closer than ever to finally permitting gestational surrogates to be compensated. Until now, only “compassionate surrogacy” has been permitted (i.e., if a friend carries a baby for a friend, or a sister carries for her sister) and there is no compensation paid to the gestational surrogate.
Along with Gov. Cuomo’s endorsement, a broad range of organizations have come together to support the bill as part of the Protecting Modern Families Coalition formed by the Family Equality Council. The coalition includes the Academy for Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Lambda Legal, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of New York City, and many other organizations. (Our Founder & Legal Director Victoria T. Ferrara is an active member of several of these organizations.)
While it’s been gaining legislative traction, everybody should know what exactly what the Child-Parent Security Act entails. It’s important to understand not only what current legislation the bill amends, but also how it affects Gestational Carriers and Intended Parents in New York.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Child-Parent Security Act, the landmark bill that could pave the way for compensated gestational surrogacy in New York.
What Is the Child-Parent Security Act?
The Child-Parent Security Act would enable Intended Parents through compensated gestational surrogacy to become the legal parents of their baby prior to the birth. The law discusses this concept in terms of “collaborative reproduction,” including Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART), artificial insemination, gamete donation, embryo donation, and IVF and embryo transfer.
In legislative terms, the bill serves two major functions: amending the Family Court Act by establishing the Child-Parent Security Act and repealing Section 73 and Article 8 of the Domestic Relations Law, which states that surrogate parenting contracts are “void and unenforceable.”
Notably, the bill specifically states that it doesn’t cover traditional surrogacy, in which the surrogate mother has provided her own eggs to conceive. You can read more about the difference between traditional and gestational surrogacy here.
The legal history of surrogacy has been a long, complicated one. Compensated gestational surrogacy has been illegal in New York State since 1992. With the enactment of marriage equality and the scientific, cultural, and social advancements that have been made, most–if not all—legal bodies are reconsidering their stances on gestational surrogacy.
What Does This Mean for Surrogates and Intended Parents in New York?
In short, the Child-Parent Security Act would legalize compensated gestational surrogacy in New York and provide certain protections to Gestational Carriers.
The protections provided to Gestational Carriers cover the surrogate’s right to make certain decisions regarding the pregnancy, including those regarding her own health, the embryo or fetus’s health, and termination of the pregnancy. It also ensures that the surrogate is represented by her own legal counsel. These are standard protections for all Gestational Carriers in U.S. States where compensated surrogacy is legal and permitted.
What about Intended Parents? While it’s still currently illegal to compensate a gestational surrogate in New York, there are no restrictions on Intended Parents turning to gestational surrogacy to grow their families, provided they are matched with a Gestational Carrier who does not reside or live in New York and further provided, the birth of their baby must occur in a State other than New York. The passage of the Child-Parent Security Act would allow Intended Parents in New York to seek out Gestational Carriers in their home state.
Everybody deserves the gift of family—and there are countless amazing women in New York that hope to share that gift with deserving Intended Parents. We’re proud to join hands with the organizations that have backed the Child-Parent Security Act to voice our support for this landmark bill.