Requirements for Surrogacy in New York and New Jersey
Before a woman can commit to helping another person have a child in New York or New Jersey, she must meet the qualifications for becoming a surrogate. Being a surrogate is a tremendous commitment because of the potential medical risks, as well as the time and energy required. In fact, not everyone can or should be a surrogate; it is a process that should only be engaged in by those who are well-prepared for the challenges and rewards ahead of them.
The criteria to be a surrogate depend upon the professionals you’ll be working with during your journey. Every prospective surrogate needs to understand the requirements for being a surrogate. A surrogacy professional should be able to describe their surrogacy requirements in detail and explain the reason for those requirements. It’s important for you to understand those requirements before becoming a surrogate in New York or New Jersey.
While each professional has slightly different requirements for surrogacy, there are a few common expectations every prospective surrogate must meet. You can find them detailed in this article. For more information about the legal requirements to become a surrogate mother in New York or New Jersey, please contact our law firm at 888-962-3001.
ASRM Qualifications for Being a Surrogate
While there are no federal regulations and there is no governmental entity overseeing the surrogacy process in the United States, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) — an organization of assisted reproductive technology professionals — has established general guidelines for surrogacy in the United States.
The ASRM’s published guidelines set forth requirements which they believe should govern the eligibility of intended parents and surrogates and the procedures to be followed in a surrogacy arrangement. Most surrogacy agencies, fertility clinics and attorneys follow the ASRM best-practice guidelines before approving a surrogate, making sure that she:
- Has completed a psychosocial evaluation and counseling by a qualified mental health professional
- Has undergone a personal and sexual history examination to screen for STIs and other infections
- Has undergone a complete medical evaluation to ensure she is medically prepared for the surrogacy process
- Is between the ages of 21 and 45 years old
- Has carried at least one uncomplicated pregnancy to term
- Has no more than a total of five previous deliveries or three deliveries via cesarean section
- Has a stable family environment with adequate support to help her cope with the added stress of pregnancy
You can read more about the ASRM qualifications to be a surrogate mom here.
New Jersey Gestational Surrogate Requirements
In addition to the ASRM criteria to be a surrogate, the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act efore a contract is deemed enforceable in New Jersey, it must be determined that the surrogate meets the requirements set forth in the legislation. They are as follows:
“A gestational carrier shall be deemed to have satisfied the requirements… if, at the time the gestational carrier agreement is executed, she:
- Is at least 21 years of age
- Has given birth to at least one child
- Has completed a medical evaluation approving her suitability to serve as a gestational carrier
- Has completed a psychological evaluation approving her suitability to serve as a gestational carrier
- Has retained an attorney, independent of the intended parent, who has counseled her regarding the terms of the gestational carrier agreement and the potential legal consequences of being a gestational carrier.
Whether you are considering an independent or agency-assisted surrogacy, you will need to meet the New Jersey gestational carrier qualifications. The purpose of these requirements is to determine whether you can safely carry a pregnancy to term and whether you are prepared for the path ahead of you. In short, these requirements are for your protection. When you work with a surrogacy attorney like those at Rumbold & Seidelman, your attorney will confirm that these requirements are met before drafting a surrogacy contract.
New York Gestational Surrogate Requirements
Unlike New Jersey, there are no laws determining a woman’s qualifications to be a surrogate in New York. This is because surrogacy contracts in New York are unenforceable. However, any fertility clinic will likely require a prospective surrogate or intended parents to meet the ASRM guidelines referenced above. A surrogacy attorney will also want to determine whether a prospective surrogate would be qualified under ASRM guidelines to ensure that any surrogacy arrangement is done properly and is likely to be a positive experience for the parties.
If you are interested in becoming a surrogate in New York or New Jersey, we encourage you to contact a local fertility clinic or surrogacy agency to begin your screening and approval process. While the ASRM guidelines set forth best practices, there are times when professionals deviate from those guidelines if they feel it is justified by the patient’s particular circumstances.
Once you have been approved to become a surrogate and have found intended parents, our surrogacy attorneys can help you draft your surrogacy contract or memorandum of understanding. Contact our law firm online or at 888-962-3001 to learn more.