Same-sex couples who wish to become parents and couples struggling with infertility may have just had their dreams of having a baby move a bit closer to reality, thanks to the passage of New Jersey’s new gestational surrogacy law.
New Jersey’s new law provides legal protections to gestational carrier contracts established between intended parents and surrogates. It’s long-awaited legislation that reverses the ban on gestational career agreement put in place decades ago in the wake of the controversial Baby M surrogacy case.
In recent years, two other bills to legalize surrogacy contracts were both vetoed under former Governor Christie. Governor Phil Murphy approved the current gestational carrier legislation on May 31, 2018.
Provisions under the new surrogacy law focus on requirements both the surrogate and intended parents must uphold for the contract to be valid. Requirements include:
- The intended gestational carrier (surrogate) must beat least 21 years old, have given birth to at least one child, completed medical and psychological evaluations and retained an attorney independent of the intended parent or parents.
- Intended parents must also have undergone a psychological exam prior to establishing the contract.
- Agreements must include language that allows the gestational carrier/surrogate to choose her own medical care for reproductive and prenatal care, labor, delivery and postpartum care.
- Intended parents are permitted to pay for medical care, as well as living expenses and legal costs associated with the agreement.
- Once the carrier becomes pregnant, parents must file with the courts to be named on the child’s birth certificate. The child’s birth certificate will name the intended parents as the sole legal parents of the baby. No adoption will be needed.
The law is also clear that it ONLY applies to surrogates who have no genetic link to the fetus because the egg belongs to another woman.
What does this new law look like in practice, and what about other existing rules in the state that pertain to surrogacy? Read our blog: New Jersey’s New Gestational Carrier Law: 4 Case Studies for a look at how intended parents and gestational carriers can avoid mistakes in their agreements.
Considering surrogacy and want to understand your legal rights and fulfill your legal requirements for representation? Come in a for a free consultation. Our highly qualified family law attorneys can provide you with the legal guidance you need to create a strong agreement, whether you are the intended parents or gestational carrier.
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