2020 State of the State proposal signed into law last year takes effect
Law establishes criteria for gestational surrogacy agreements, creates a surrogates' bill of rights, streamlines ‘second parent adoption’ process
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York's gestational surrogacy law is now in effect, “delivering help to LGBTQ+ couples and couples struggling with fertility who are trying to start families of their own.” Originally proposed as part of the governor's 2020 State of the State agenda and signed into law as part of the state budget, the law officially legalizes gestational surrogacy in New York. Prior to the law's enactment, the practice was illegal in the state, and gestational surrogacy agreements were unenforceable and considered not legally binding.
"For far too long, LGBTQ+ New Yorkers and New Yorkers struggling with fertility were denied the opportunity to start a family because of arbitrary and archaic laws, and I couldn't be prouder of the way New York came together to say we won't stand for this any longer," Cuomo said. "New York is a loving state and were proud to lead the charge for fairness and equality last year. With this law now in effect, no longer will anyone will be blocked from the joys of starting a family and raising children simply because of who they are."
In addition to lifting the previous ban on gestational surrogacy, the law, Cuomo’s camp said:
√ “Establishes legal criteria for gestational surrogacy agreements that provide the strongest protections in the nation for parents and surrogates, ensuring all parties provide informed consent at every step of the process;
√ “Creates a surrogates' bill of rights, to ensure the unfettered right of surrogates to make their own health care decisions, including whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy, and that surrogates have access to comprehensive health insurance and independent legal counsel of their choosing, all paid for by the intended parents; and
√ “Creates a streamlined process for establishing parenthood when one of the individuals is a non-biological parent, a process known as ‘second parent adoption.’ "
Cuomo has long championed the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and has sought to ensure all New Yorkers have equal ability to start and raise families in this state. Gestational surrogacy provides same-sex couples and people struggling with fertility the ability to conceive a child with the help of medical advances in assisted reproduction.
The legal process known as "second-parent adoption," Cuomo’s team said, “previously presented many antiquated barriers to individuals, particularly LGBTQ+ couples, seeking to adopt their partner's biological child. Gov. Cuomo's legislation simplified and streamlined this process by instead requiring a single visit to court to recognize legal parenthood while the child is in utero.”
Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health Dr. Howard Zucker said, "From legalizing gay marriage to this surrogacy law taking effect today, under Gov. Cuomo's leadership, New York has done more than any other state to expand the rights of LGBTQ+ people. In the midst of a global pandemic that continues to claim lives throughout the country, it's important to remember the truly important things in our lives, especially our families and children. I wish love and happiness to all the people who will take advantage of this law today and in coming years to create families of their own."
Ali Forney Center CEO Alexander Roque said, "Gov. Cuomo's tireless care for, commitment to and centering of LGBTQIA rights is among the most noble commitments to justice and equality for all. Moreover, in doing so, Gov. Cuomo is setting a standard for other leaders to follow in protecting and really thinking about and responding to the needs of our movement. As a gay parent who had no coverage or benefits in supporting my family journey, I know firsthand the impact this legislation will have on our families. Gov. Cuomo's fight for our rights will benefit our communities for generations to come."
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association board member Risa A. Levine said, "I am so thrilled that, after decades of having to travel outside of New York to build their families, people suffering from infertility who need the help of a surrogate, can now do so close to home. I am proud that Gov. Cuomo enabled New York state to have the most progressive set of protections for all parties to a surrogacy arrangement in the country."
Equality New York board member Brian Esser said, "Now that the Child-Parent Security Act is in effect, New York has one of the most favorable sets of laws in the country with respect to LGBTQI family formation, making it easier for parents to protect their legal rights regardless of how they build their families."
Men Having Babies Executive Director Ron Poole-Dayan said, "Today we believe that New York leapfrogged to have the most comprehensive and ethical surrogacy laws ever drafted, with extensive protections to all involved, legal clarity and a streamlined process for parentage rights, and attention to long term physical and mental health outcomes. We thank Gov. Cuomo for his leadership and look forward to working with him on building upon this historic achievement for LGBTQ families."