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Surrogacy in Southern New Jersey
Surrogacy is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) used by women who are unable to conceive or carry a child full term. A surrogate contracts to carry a baby for women who cannot. Surrogates can be known, like family members or friends, or a surrogate can also be found through a fertility clinic or agency.
Types of Surrogacy
The two types of surrogacy are: traditional and getstational. With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is inseminated with sperm from the male prospective parent, and the eggs of the surrogate 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 egg donors 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 famous 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 chose to keep the child (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. The court also ruled a person cannot 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 Sterns got 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 has not issued any decisions to date regarding lesbian and gay parents and surrogacy.
Southern New Jersey Surrogacy Agencies
There are no surrogacy agencies in the southern New Jersey area. However, there is are surrogate programs in central New Jersey. There are also programs out of state that offer surrogate services in southern New Jersey. The agencies are as follows:
- Center for Surrogate Parenting (out of state but covers New Jersey)
- IVF New Jersey (Central New Jersey area)
- Northeast Assisted Fertility Group (out of state but covers New Jersey)
- Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists (out of state but covers New Jersey)
Do your homework on agencies you are considering working with. Learn about agencies' policies on medical and psychological prescreening evaluations of surrogate candidates. All surrogacy programs should have these evaluation procedures in place. Get information on costs and fees. Ask about speaking with others who have used the program. Be sure you and your surrogate have skilled legal representation. Choose an attorney who has legal knowledge regarding surrogacy.