On 15th February 2021, new protections and safeguards for surrogates will go into effect. The legislation legalizes paid gestational surrogacy and also ensures new insurance for surrogates and parents.
Previously, New York was one of three states, along with Louisiana and Michigan, that had still outlawed the practice. The laws were signed last year and mean that from the middle of February, New Yorkers can legally arrange and carry out contracts for paid surrogacy. The legislation is part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2021 fiscal budget.
The new laws include the Surrogate’s Bill of Rights and come with a number of new rules protecting those involved.
Some of the new rules include that the surrogate must be 21 years old or over, and the minimum compensation is $35,000. There is also the introduction of legal protections for the parents of children conceived by reproductive technology, and new criteria for surrogacy contracts that protect all parties. Additionally, expensive and burdensome barriers for ‘second parent adoption’ were eliminated, with the requirement of just one court visit establish legal parenthood.
The legislation includes new insurance requirements. Surrogates now have the right to life and insurance, paid for by the prospective parents. The health insurance must cover all costs relating the surrogacy, such as maternity care benefits, pregnancy screenings and preventative care. Parents can also purchase insurance that will cover financial loss if the surrogate fails to follow the terms of the surrogacy contract.
Governor Cuomo said, “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.” Talking about the protections in the new laws, he added, “When we passed legislation lifting the antiquated ban on gestational surrogacy, we included the nation’s strongest protections for both surrogate mothers and parents alike.”
These new laws not only bring New York state in line with others, they also offer some of the strongest protections for surrogates in the country, allowing many new Yorkers to fulfil their wish of starting a family.