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Critics Charge New Jersey Surrogacy Law Will Make Women Baby Factories

Opponents of New Jersey Bill S1599, which recently passed the State Senate, charge that it could turn some desperate women into "baby factories."

The "New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act" would change New Jersey surrogacy laws. Under the "Rights of Parentage" section of the new Act:

  • The intended parent shall be the legal parent of the child;
  • In the case of an intended parent who is a spouse or partner in a civil union or domestic partnership, both spouses or partners shall be the parents of the child; and
  • Neither the gestational carrier nor her spouse or partner, if any, shall be the legal parent of the child.

If there's a lab or medical mix-up and the resulting child isn't genetically related to the intended parent, the intended parent is still deemed the legal parent of the child, unless the genetic parent challenges this within 120 days of the child's birth.

To be valid under the new law, a "Gestational Carrier Agreement" must satisfy the following requirements:

  • It must be is in writing and signed by the gestational carrier, her spouse or partner in a civil union or domestic partnership, if any, and each intended parent.
  • It must be signed after the required medical and psychological screenings of the gestational carrier and the psychological screening of the intended parent, but prior to the start of any other necessary medical procedures in furtherance of the implantation of the pre-embryo; and
  • The gestational carrier and her spouse or partner, if any, and the intended parent must be represented by separate attorneys in all matters relating to the gestational carrier agreement and each attorney must provide an affidavit of such representation.

Under the new law, a gestational carrier must surrender custody of the child to
the intended parents immediately upon the child's birth. The Act would eliminate New Jersey's three-day waiting period for intended parents to have their names placed on the child's birth certificate.

In the "Baby M" case, a woman was paid by a New Jersey couple in 1986 to carry a baby conceived with her own egg the husband of the couple's sperm. After giving birth, the surrogate wanted to keep the baby. After two years of legal battles, she was granted visitation rights.

Critics charge that by providing formal recognition to gestational contracts, the new law would lead to needy women renting out their bodies as baby factories.

Defenders of the Act say that it allows only for a birth mother to be reimbursed for reasonable expenses, but does not allow for additional compensation.

If you have concerns about surrogacy or other New Jersey family law issues, contact the New Jersey family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Greenberg, Walden & Grossman, LLC.

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