On May 31, 2018, New Jersey became the thirteenth state in the U.S. to legalize surrogacy and gestational carrier contracts. The District of Columbia also has existing legislation recognizing such agreements. The bill, signed into law by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, effectively overturned the state Supreme Court’s 1988 ruling in a case that garnered national headlines at the time, In re Baby M.
The new legislation is being hailed as a victory for individuals and couples who find themselves facing fertility issues and for same-sex couples who want to add to their families. The law provides some important protections for gestational carriers and intended parents.
Under the new law, surrogacy contracts must clearly define the parties’ intention that the gestational carrier will surrender custody of the child and forfeit parental rights immediately after birth. This should give peace of mind to intended parents who might otherwise be concerned about the gestational carrier having a change of heart after giving birth. For their part, intended parents must also contractually agree to legally assume parental rights immediately after birth and include their name(s) on the child’s birth certificate.
Gestational carriers in New Jersey now have the legal right to choose their own medical providers and care throughout their pregnancy, continuing through postpartum care. The parties can also contractually agree that the intended parent(s) will reimburse the surrogate for her reasonable medical expenses, living expenses, counseling, and related costs. The law does not require intended parents to pay for such expenses, but it does require them to pay for the gestational carrier’s legal fees (for an attorney of the gestational carrier’s choice) related to the surrogacy arrangement.
No matter what state you are in, you should seek competent legal counsel before entering into any contract related to surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation, or in vitro fertilization (IVF.) A reproductive rights attorney can help ensure legal agreements comply with all applicable laws and are designed to protect your best interests.
At The Surrogacy Law Center, PLC, we offer caring and professional assisted reproductive technology services to individuals and families, with staff that speak Mandarin, French, and Spanish. Based in Carlsbad, CA, we are dedicated to drafting comprehensive surrogacy, egg, sperm and embryo donation contracts as well timely and thorough parentage orders. No matter what your legal needs may be, we are here for you. We will carefully listen to you to create a contract and a plan to help build your family that meets your wishes and needs. Contact us today to learn more!