Center for Surrogate Parenting welcomes updates to ‘antiquated’ New York surrogacy law

The Center for Surrogate Parenting has applauded proposed changes to the New York surrogacy laws which had previously banned the practice from the state since 1992

Thanks to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and co-sponsor Senator Brad Hoylman, a vote on the bill to legalise surrogacy is imminent.

New York, Michigan, and Louisiana are the only three remaining states that ban compensated surrogacy outright.  In all other states, surrogacy is permitted but under various specific circumstances. In some states, only married couples are protected by the law, but in other states the child must be genetically related to at least one parent.

In pro-surrogacy states like California and Nevada, whoever intends to be a parent is recognised as the parent regardless of marriage or genetic link to the child they create. Recently Washington state, Washington DC, and New Jersey state have all passed bills to approve surrogacy.

Permitting commercial surrogacy to operate in the great state of New York, is a great way of helping infertile and gay couples create their own families.  Soon, New Yorkers will not have to bear the additional burden of having to travel to a different state, sometimes across country, just to start a family of their own.

Opponents of surrogacy often state that a child is not a consumer product to be sold or that surrogacy is the exploitation of poor women who are economically desperate and are forced into surrogacy.  While surrogacy has not been professionally practiced in countries like Cambodia, India, and Thailand, the oldest surrogacy agency in the world is the Center for Surrogate Parenting (CSP).

Surrogacy works when done professionally

CSP has been helping infertile and gay couples create their families for over 38 years.  In that time, CSP has celebrated the birth of more than 2,500 babies.  No surrogate mother in their programme has changed their mind about returning the baby to its rightful and loving parents.  In fact, more than 55 per cent of their surrogate mothers return for a second surrogacy journey to help their first family have a second child or to help another family celebrate the joy of parenthood. CSP has six full time mental health practitioners who support their surrogate mothers throughout the surrogacy journey.  Parents and surrogate mothers are represented by separate independent legal counsel throughout the pregnancy.

The Supreme Court of California considered the argument that surrogacy amounts to payment for a child and concluded that the compensation paid to a surrogate mother was not payment for child nor was it payment in exchange for the surrender of her parental rights.  Instead, the court in the landmark decision of Johnson v. Calvert (5 Cal. 4th 846 (1993)) held that such payments are “meant to compensate her for her services in gestating the fetus and undergoing labor.”

In other words, and as it’s commonly stated in surrogacy agreements, the payments are for a surrogate mother’s discomfort, pain, suffering, inconvenience, living expenses, and for pre-birth child support. This is further supported by our standard payment terms which entitle a surrogate mother to payments in installments paid over the pregnancy instead of being a lump sum payment, and such payments are never conditioned on the health of the baby.

Surrogacy brings great happiness to all involved

Surrogacy is about one family helping to create another family.  In this world we live in where human kindness is often lacking, this is a field of great happiness for all involved.

“One of our surrogate mothers was asked why she wanted to carry a baby for someone else” said Karen Synesiou, of CSP.  “And she said: ‘I am not able to research a cure for cancer, or become a doctor and save a life.  However, I can help one couple become a family.  I carry a pregnancy really well, we have completed our own family.  This I can do.  I can make a difference.’”

Surrogacy is often a quest for surrogate mothers, and when they return the baby they have lovingly carried for nine months into the arms of the parent, that quest is accomplished. Surrogate mothers are so very proud that they offered to help another person in such a significant way.

On behalf of all the infertile and gay residents of New York, a heartfelt thank you to Governor Cuomo, all the supporters of this bill and to the citizens of New York.  Thank you.

To find out more about the Center for Surrogate Parenting, click here

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