The state of New York Monday legalized paid surrogacy, a milestone event that will help thousands of people struggling with fertility build families.
“This is a triumph for modern families,” said Nazca Fontes, the CEO of ConceiveAbilities, a nationwide surrogacy and egg donation agency with an office in New York City. “New Yorkers will no longer have to hopscotch around the country, incurring ridiculous costs, absurd inconvenience and now the risk of COVID infection, just to become a parent.”
Surrogacy laws still vary throughout the United States with all but four states allowing paid surrogacy. In Louisiana, paid surrogacy is prohibited, while uncompensated surrogacy is legal only for hetero, married couples. And in Michigan, paid surrogacy is illegal and all surrogacy contracts unenforceable.
“Surrogates provide a much-needed service, but suffer incredible stigma and misunderstanding for the important work they do in building families,” said Dr. James Grifo, director of the NYU Langone Fertility Clinic.
ConceiveAbilities recently hired research firm Accelerant Research to better understand surrogates. The firm surveyed 100 surrogates, more than 500 qualified surrogacy prospects, and more than 1,000 women from the general population. Of the surrogates and qualified surrogacy prospects, it found:
- More than 60% reported a household income above $75,000.
- More than half volunteer regularly.
- Nearly half are registered blood and organ donors.
- Almost one-quarter of them foster pets.
- 68% see surrogacy as a way to support the LGBTQ community.
- More than three-quarters said they did so because they knew someone personally in need.
- Two-thirds said they had first-hand exposure to a relative or close friend’s struggle with infertility.
“We found that the single biggest motivation for surrogates is the simple desire to help,” Fontes said. “Eighty-seven percent said they find joy in helping others; 74% reported they are motivated by a sense of empowerment as a surrogate.”
New York’s new law includes the Surrogates’ Bill of Rights, the strongest protections for surrogates in the country. These include:
- The surrogate must be at least 21-years-old
- Intended parents must pay for the surrogate’s legal counsel
- Intended parents are required to pay for health and life insurance for one year after the surrogate gives birth
- Minimum compensation of $35,000 for the surrogate