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Surrogacy in Central New Jersey
Surrogacy is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) used by women who are unable to conceive or carry a baby throughout a pregnancy. This type of ART is an opportunity for women who have medical problems which would harm the fetus or threaten the life of the mother. A surrogate offers to carry the baby for a woman who cannot. Surrogates can be known, like family members or friends. A surrogate can also be found through a fertility clinic or agency. Because there is a third party involved surrogacy is considered the most complex type of infertility treatment.
Types of Surrogacy
The two types of surrogacy are: traditional and gestational. With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is inseminated with sperm from the male prospective parent; the surrogate's eggs are used. Traditional surrogacy creates a biological relationship between the child and the surrogate.
With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is implanted with a fertilized egg. In this case the egg can come from an egg donor or from the prospective mother. Sperm can come from either a sperm donor or prospective father. Gestational surrogacy does not offer a biological relationship between the child and surrogate.
Surrogacy Laws in New Jersey
Traditional surrogacy is illegal in New Jersey because of a well-publicized court case looking at surrogate rights vs. the rights of prospective parents. In 1986, Mary Beth Whitehead was a traditional surrogate for Betsy and William Stern. Ms. Whitehead was inseminated with Mr. Stern’s sperm. Ms. Whitehead decided to keep the baby girl ("Baby M") after her birth. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled the traditional surrogacy arrangement which provided $10,000 to the surrogate mother was invalid. They court said nobody can contractually let go of their parental rights. The court voided the Stern’s adoption and gave Ms. Whitehead the parental rights of the birth mother. The Stern’s were awarded custody of Baby M.
The court also ruled that financial compensation is forbidden for gestational surrogacy. Only uncompensated gestational contracts where the surrogate is not the biological contributor of the egg are allowed.
The New Jersey court currently has not issued any decisions regarding surrogacy for lesbian and gay parents.
Central New Jersey Area Surrogacy Agencies
There are different types of surrogacy programs available. Some programs are local and others are out of state but affiliated with local clinics or medical facilities providing surrogacy services. Central New Jersey offers these two types of surrogacy programs:
- IVF New Jersey is locally based and is a freestanding infertility clinic.
- The Surrogacy Source is an out of state agency that has partnered with Reproductive Medicine Associates, a local New Jersey infertility clinic.
Get information from agencies on the medical and psychological prescreening evaluations for potential surrogates. All reputable surrogacy programs should have these assessments procedures in place.
Obtain information from the surrogacy program regarding procedures and costs. Inquire about talking with others who have used the program. Be sure you and your surrogate have appropriate legal representation.; choose an attorney who has legal expertise with surrogacy.