New York Legislation Legalizes Paid Surrogacy; opens up alternatives for households

Women in New York can be compensated for carrying babies who are not biologically their own under a law going into effect February 15. Previously, intended parents had to go to other states to seek such help to enlarge their families.

“Now you can recruit a pregnant surrogate mother in New York State and have her reimbursed for her time, risk, and effort in carrying the pregnancy,” said Dr. James Stelling, Fertility Specialist and Co-Founder of Stony Brook Community Medical- Island Fertility with reference to the Child Parent Security Act.

For example, Stelling has a patient who was born without a uterus and needs a pregnancy replacement to have a biological child. The act will also be a boon to gay men who want children, advocates said.

The bill was passed by state lawmakers as part of the New York state budget on April 2, 2020 and incorporated into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to mark a 10-year effort by a coalition of New York lawyers, fertility, and limit organizations LGBTQ rights groups, said Denise Seidelman, a Rockland County attorney who helped draft the law. New York was one of only three states to completely ban compensated surrogacy during pregnancy. The others are Louisiana and Michigan, she said.

Megan Smith, 34, a nurse assistant from Coram with three children, is ready to become a surrogate mother for a family she has connected to through a Facebook group to align potential surrogates with the intended parents bring. “My children are my whole life,” said Smith. “I had no problem getting pregnant. I couldn’t imagine being in a situation where I couldn’t have my children.”


Proponents welcome New York State’s move.

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“It has always been really ridiculous that this very state of all things should be inhospitable and hostile to pregnancy surrogacy with so many gay men in this region ready to be parents,” said Ron Poole-Dayan, executive director and founder of in New York based nonprofit men with babies.

Sean Braut-Doherty, 37, a Northport schoolteacher, and his husband Steven, 46, a personal trainer, had to travel to Florida to work with the surrogate mother, who had their two children Charlotte, 5, and Grant, 8 weeks ) wore.

“It would have been a lot easier to raise our family here,” said Sean. Steven added, “We could have made more visits to the doctor and generally had more meetings if she hadn’t been so far away.”

Alex Peyser, 32, who grew up in Great Neck and lives in Manhattan, and her husband David Seidenberg, 33, an art dealer, have a son, Abie, 2, who was born with the help of a surrogate mother from Tennessee.

“Obviously, it has added more obstacles to the process, which is primarily complicated,” Peyser said of the agreement with a replacement from another state. Born without a uterus, Peyser always knew she would need a replacement to give birth to the couple’s embryos. They are now planning another child and hope to work with a surrogate mother from New York this time, Peyser, a fertility colleague at Northwell Health in Manhasset, said, going into the field based on her own experience.


The law requires that the baby have no genetic relationship with the carrier; In other words, it must be an intended mother or an egg or embryo from a donor, said Amy Demma, an East Hampton-based assisted reproductive technology attorney. The law provides for a surrogacy deed, which ensures the surrogate is represented by her own lawyer, health insurance is paid for by the intended parents, and can continue to make pregnancy decisions.

The law currently requires that one of the intended parents and the carrier must be a resident of New York at least six months prior to a deal commencing and that they must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, said Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan). who sponsored the Senate bill and has two children born to California surrogates.

Proponents are trying to allow intended parents from other states to contract here, but residents of other countries will not be able to attend, Hoylman said. “We want to discourage surrogacy tourism,” he said.

Altruistic surrogacy, which usually involves a family or friend voluntarily bearing a child and not receiving compensation, was and remains legal in New York, Demma said. Traditional surrogacy, in which the surrogate mother’s eggs are fertilized to allow her a biological connection to the child, remains unenforceable and its compensation remains illegal. This has been the case since 1988, when Marybeth Whitehead, who lives on Long Island, entered into a traditional surrogacy arrangement but changed her mind and wanted to keep the baby in order to start a legal battle for custody.

Recruiting begins

The law not only legalizes compensated pregnancy carriers. It streamlines other processes for intended parents, such as enabling a court order to recognize them as parents at birth, Demma said.

The Albany-based New York Surrogacy Center has begun recruiting on the Suffolk County NY Mom’s Group Facebook page. “I hope to promote the amazing opportunity to become a replacement and give the gift of parenting while making up to $ 40,000,” a post said.

“The surrogate mothers we work with are people who have had families of their own, have had relatively straightforward pregnancies and want to help other people experience the joy of parenting,” said Joe Williams, director of the center’s surrogacy services.

“When the surrogate doesn’t live far from the intended parents, everyone is better off,” said Rita Kardach, owner of Rite Options, a Garden City surrogacy matching service. “It’s emotionally calming.”

Beth Whitehouse writes about families, parents, and great things to do with the kids on Long Island. She was an editor at Newsday and received the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Newsday Employees for reporting on the TWA Flight 800 crash.

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