Families celebrate after New York legalizes paid surrogacy after 28 years

Two Brooklyn families who dreamed of having children are now one step closer after New York legalized paid surrogacy after 28 years.

News 12 Staff

Apr 5, 2020, 11:08 AM

Updated 1,511 days ago

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Two Brooklyn families who dreamed of having children are now one step closer after New York legalized paid surrogacy after 28 years.
Cynara Charles-Pierre says that she had a 4-year-old daughter through surrogacy. Cynara says she went through an agency in New Jersey.
Another parent through surrogacy, Dennis Williams, says his friend donated her eggs for him to create his family and he was linked to a surrogate through a friend.
Both parents says they were blindsided that gestational pregnancy was illegal in New York and had to start their family in a different state.
The battle was personal as well for William and Elizabeth Stern and their surrogate, Mary Beth Whitehead. The highly publicized "Baby M" custody case in 1987 would be the catalyst for New York banning the practice.
Whitehead fought for parental rights of the child she carried for the Stern family, using her egg through a traditional surrogacy contract. A judge denied the surrogate custody and granted custody to William.
In 1992, New York made the decision to ban the practice.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo added gestational surrogacy to the 2021 fiscal year budget, ending the battle after 28 years.
Cuomo is championing what he's calling the Love Makes a Family campaign, or the Child-Parent Security Act.
TV host Andy Cohen wrote on Instagram, "The passage of the Child-Parent Security Act means thousands of New Yorkers who struggle with infertility, cancer survivors, and LGBTQ will have a chance of a family."
Before it's passing, the proposal to legalize gestational surrogacy drew criticism from conservatives and feminists. Many cited the harm it can do to financially struggling women.
It wasn't until 2010 that the idea to life the surrogacy ban was introduced to the state legislature by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.
Her bill cleared the Senate after teaming up the Sen. Brad Holyman, but it never passed her own chamber. Sen. Liz Krueger voted "no" for the bill last year, being the only Democrat to do so.
Krueger's proposed legislation was dubbed the compromise bill, which included mandates that would subject intended parents to background checks, have a surrogate provide a written declaration giving up parental rights and strict guidelines for agencies and clinics.
It's not clear how much of Krueger or Paulin's bill are included in the recently passed legislation.
Details have not been fully revealed yet, but the budget states it will provide strong protections for both intended parents and surrogates, informed consent every step of the way and create a surrogate bill of rights.
Surrogates will be able to make their own health care decisions, grant them access to health insurance and independent legal counsel paid for by the intended parents and establish parenthood when one of the individuals is a non-biological parent, known as second parent adoption.
Dr. Briana Rudkick says clinics like the Columbia University fertility center are ready to start helping New York residents who want to start their families through surrogacy.


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