ALBANY, New York — Prospective parents in New York could enter into paid surrogacy contracts under a proposal that the governor says he’ll try to pass again in 2020.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday he will submit legislation to legalize gestational surrogacy as part of his 2020 State of the State agenda. Gestational surrogacy allows people to conceive a child who would be carried by a surrogate. New York is one of a few states that explicitly bans paid surrogacy contracts.
A similar bill was before the Legislature this year in New York; it passed the Senate but never came up for a vote in the Assembly.
That bill would have permitted and regulated such contracts and imposed rules intended to protect surrogates, future parents and babies. The New York State Catholic Conference had argued that surrogacy contracts have been used to exploit surrogates around the world.
“Reproductive commerce is human exploitation. Commercialization denigrates the dignity of women by degrading pregnancy to a service,” the conference said in a June 10 statement.
The conference noted that in states where surrogacy is permitted, surrogate services are advertised, and surrogates are recruited – most often on college campuses, in poor neighborhoods, and on military bases.
“When a poor woman is bearing a child for a couple who is much better off financially, it is an unequal transaction, and that can easily involve coercion, uninformed consent, and violations of human rights,” the conference statement continued, while also noting that surrogacy “is not without serious health risks to women.”
“Those who provide the eggs are doused with fertility drugs for superovulation and risk ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which can be life-threatening. Those who are surrogates must receive multiple injections of synthetic hormones for embryonic implantation, some of which have not been approved by the FDA for fertility use. If the pregnancy is successful, the surrogate then must endure nine months of challenges, including a higher risk of multiple gestations, which carries with it an increased risk of maternal mortality,” explained the statement.
The Democratic governor had called the legislation one of his top priorities for this year’s legislative session. He’s said the state’s ban on surrogacy contracts hits same-sex couples especially hard — something he calls odd given the state’s early approval of same-sex marriage.
“New York’s surrogacy ban is based in fear not love, and it’s past time we updated our antiquated laws to help LGBTQ couples and people struggling with fertility use commonplace reproductive technology to start families,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said the 2020 legislation will include a Surrogates’ Bill of Rights that will ensure surrogates have the right to terminate or continue a pregnancy.
He says the bill would also create legal protections for parents of children conceived by egg donation or artificial insemination. Cuomo also wants to make it easier and less costly for individuals to adopt their partner’s biological child.
Crux staff contributed to this report.
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