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Surrogacy in Northern New Jersey
Surrogacy is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) for women who are unsuccessful in conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term. With surrogacy a woman agrees to carry a child for someone who cannot. It is a good treatment option for a woman who has a medical condition where pregnancy would cause harm or be life threatening. A surrogate can be someone who is “known” like a friend or family member or a woman who is found with the assistance of an agency or fertility clinic. Surrogacy is the most complex type of ART because of the involvement of a third party.
Types of Surrogacy
There are two kinds of surrogacy, traditional and gestational. In traditional surgery the surrogate is inseminated with the sperm from the male prospective parent and the surrogate’s eggs are used. In this case the child has a biological relationship with the surrogate.
In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is implanted with an already fertilized egg. The egg can come from the female prospective parent or from an egg donor. The sperm can be that of the male partner or a sperm donor. With gestational surrogacy the surrogate has no biological relationship to the child.
Surrogacy Laws in New Jersey
Traditional surrogacy is prohibited in New Jersey, following a court case surrounding the most famous surrogacy in the U.S. In 1986, Mary Beth Whitehead became a traditional surrogate for William and Betsy Stern. She was inseminated with Stern’s sperm. Following the birth of “Baby M.” Whitehead decided she wanted to keep her biological daughter. The New Jersey Supreme Court determined that the traditional surrogacy agreement which provided $10,000 to the surrogate mother was invalid. They ruled no one could contractually abandon their parental rights. They voided the adoption of the baby by Betsy Stern and reinstated parental rights of the birth mother, Ms. Whitehead. William and Betsy Stern got custody of Baby M.
Additionally, the court said there could be no financial compensation for gestational surrogacy. Only uncompensated gestational contracts where the surrogate is not the biological contributor of the egg are allowed.
There are no legal decisions by the courts in terms of lesbian or gay parents and surrogacy.
North New Jersey Area Surrogacy Agencies
There are many programs in New Jersey that match up prospective parents with surrogates. Discuss the prescreening medical and psychological evaluations offered to surrogate candidates. These screenings are necessary for reputable surrogacy programs to perform.
- Center for Surrogate Parenting (out of state)
- Diamond Institute for Infertility
- MACI II Women’s Center
- Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey
- Reproductive Possibilities
- Valley Hospital
Talk to the surrogacy staff about costs and screening procedures. Research each surrogacy program carefully. Try to talk to others who have used the program. Surrogacy is complicated so be certain that both you and the surrogate have proper legal representation. It is wise to use an attorney who specializes in reproductive or family building law.