New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation legalizing gestational surrogacy in the Empire State. Gestational surrogacy involves gathering eggs from the biological mother and fertilizing them with sperm from the biological father. Fertilized eggs are them implanted into a gestational surrogate, who is also technically the birth, but not biological, mother.
Major elements of the New York gestational surrogacy law
The gestational surrogacy law lifts a previous ban on this type of surrogacy that existed in New York. The 2021 gestational surrogacy law contains three other primary elements.
First, the law establishes clear legal criteria for gestational surrogacy agreements. The law is described as providing the strongest protections for parents and surrogates in the United States. Second, the new law establishes a Surrogates’ Bill of Rights. This gives a surrogate with the absolute authority to make their own healthcare decisions during the course of a pregnancy. This includes providing a surrogate with the right to terminate a pregnancy if she so desires.
Finally, the law creates a more streamlined process for establishing parenthood when one of the individuals is a non-biological parent. This is known as a “second-parent adoption” and is of particular benefit to members of the LGBTQ+ community in New York.
Common situations in which gestational surrogacy may be sought
In enacting the legislation, five more commonplace situations in which gestational surrogacy may be sought were identified:
- Couples unable to have children due to infertility
- Women (or couples) unable to safely give birth because of health conditions
- Same-sex male couples
- Transgender individuals or couples
- Single males
Ideally, a surrogate has successfully carried a child to term previously. A surrogate is not allowed to have previously known either of the biological parents.