Surrogacy is now accepted as a way to either start or add to families, but for many years, New York still didn’t accept it. Fortunately, this changed with the passage of the Child Parent Security Act (CSPA). If you’re considering surrogacy, you should seek legal counsel from a New York surrogacy lawyer.
Our experienced White Plains, NY surrogacy attorneys at Douglas Family Law Group can help both surrogates and future parents to better understand their obligations and rights under this new law. Our legal team is available to help you determine how best to go about the process.
What Is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?
You cannot discuss surrogacy without first discussing assisted reproductive therapy (ART). ART refers to fertility procedures and treatments aimed at helping with difficulties or the inability to conceive children. ART techniques involve manipulating sperm, eggs, or embryos to increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
ART births bring up perplexing legal questions. Whether you’re a single person, a same-sex couple, or a couple struggling with fertility, our attorneys are here to help you understand how to use ART and be legally protected throughout the process.
What Are the Legal Rights and Protections of People Using ART in New York?
The legal rights and protections of people using ART vary from state to state. Oftentimes, the law calls for specific factors in determining parentage and the rights of surrogates and donors in an ART birth.
The Child Parent Security Act (CSPA) identifies 3 users/beneficiaries of ART that enjoy legal rights and protections in New York, who are:
- Intended Parents
- Children Born of Assisted Reproduction
Legal Rights and Protections for Surrogates
The CSPA creates “best practice” protections specifically aimed at protecting gestational surrogates. They include:
- The right to psychological counseling.
- The right to have a comprehensive health insurance policy.
- The right to independent legal counsel, of their own choosing, paid for by the intended parents.
- The right to walk away from an agreement before pregnancy without facing any penalties.
- The right to a life insurance policy that takes effect prior to any treatment.
- The sole right to make all the health and welfare decisions regarding the surrogates themselves or the pregnancy.
Legal Rights and Protections for Intended Parents
The CSPA provides the following legal protections for intended parents:
- It assures that an egg or sperm donor isn’t a parent, where there’s proof of donative intent.
- It assures that the individual acting as the surrogate for the intended parents is capable and healthy, both physically and emotionally, of carrying the pregnancy to term.
- It creates a simple, no-cost pathway to legal parentage of the gestating parent’s partner, where both agree they are parents.
- It assures the legal relationship that exists between the intended parents and their child or children right from birth.
Legal Rights and Protections for Children Born of Assisted Reproduction
The CSPA provides the following legal protections for children born using ART:
- It establishes legally binding parental and financial responsibility for the child’s health and welfare.
- It provides clarity regarding who the parents of the child are, from the moment of birth.
- It assures that both parents (if applicable) whether married or not and whether they contributed genetic material or not, are legally and financially responsible for the child, even in the event of the separation of the parents or the death of one parent.
Different Types of Surrogacy and Terms Associated with Surrogacy
For those who want to start a family outside of the conventional box, or struggle with infertility, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) offers a range of options to welcome a child into your family. But because the scientific and legal issues surrounding ART are complex and confusing, and the laws are often out of date, you’ll want an experienced attorney to help you navigate the process.
Here are some of the different types of surrogacy and terms associated with surrogacy.
Traditional surrogacy is where the surrogate is artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm and her eggs are used to conceive the baby, which makes her the biological mother of the child she carries. Unfortunately, this often creates legal and emotional issues, which is why traditional surrogacy is rarely used and isn’t highly recommended.
Gestational surrogacy is the more modern alternative to traditional surrogacy that’s gaining in popularity each year. Gestational surrogacy is where the surrogate acts more like a vessel to carry the child to term. Her own ovum isn’t used for this. Instead, the embryo is fertilized and then implanted via in vitro fertilization.
Our office can help people interested in using a gestational surrogate by putting in place the necessary legal agreements so that they are recognized as the child’s legal parents.
In Vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization is an assisted reproduction procedure that involves removing eggs from the ovaries of the egg donor or intended parent and fertilizing them outside of the woman’s body. The eggs are then fertilized using sperm either from the intended parent or a donor and the fertilized eggs create embryos.
Sperm donation refers to when a man, referred to as the “sperm donor,” donates his semen (sperm) with the intention that it be used to artificially inseminate another woman, the “recipient,” to help her conceive.
If you were to attempt to become pregnant through gamete (sperm or egg) donation, and you obtain the sperm or egg from someone you know (rather than from a sperm bank), there are legal agreements regarding parentage that need to be worked out between you and the donor.
Egg donation refers to when eggs are removed from the donor and then fertilized by sperm either from the intended father or a donor for the purpose of creating embryos that will belong to the recipient.
Embryo donation refers to a procedure that allows embryos that were either created by couples receiving fertility treatment or created from donor eggs and donor sperm specifically for the purpose of donation for transfer to infertile patients to achieve a pregnancy.
How Can an ART Attorney Help You?
An assisted reproductive technology lawyer such as those at Douglas Family Law Group in White Plains, NY is responsible for drafting the legal arrangements that will help protect your rights.
Specifically, ART lawyers can help with the following:
- Drafting pre-birth and parentage orders.
- Negotiating pre-nuptial agreements and addressing issues concerning frozen eggs, sperm, or embryos.
- Advising clients of applicable laws and the legal risks associated with ART.
- Drafting contracts between intended parents and surrogates.
- Assisting surrogates to establish the rights of the intended parents.
- Assist future parents in finalizing their parental rights.
- Counseling surrogates and intended parents on the state of the law with respect to the various reproduction methods available.
- Preparing enforceable contracts for sperm donation, egg donation, and surrogacy.
Contact Our New York Surrogacy Lawyers Today!
Parents often rely on surrogacy agreements to have children. The process has never been simple, but the CPSA has opened many doors for parents in New York. Families can come together with the help of qualified legal professionals.
If you’re pursuing assisted reproduction or have questions about how the CSPA will affect you, the White Plains, NY surrogacy lawyers at Douglas Family Law Group can help. Call us today at 914-615-9058 to schedule a consultation with our experienced surrogacy lawyers.