New York (STL.News) Governor Andrew M. 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 State.  Prior to the law’s enactment, the practice was illegal in New York 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,” Governor 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:

  • 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 healthcare 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.”

Governor Cuomo has long championed the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and has sought to ensure that 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” previously presented many antiquated barriers to individuals, particularly LGBTQ+ couples, seeking to adopt their partner’s biological child.  Governor 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.

The Department of Health has posted guidance here with surrogates’ bill of rights, fact sheets, and a license portal.  Information on regulations can be found here.