Same-Sex Marriage and Third-Party Reproduction
The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling which legalized marriage for same-sex couples across the country was a victory for LGBT couples. In New York, same-sex marriage had been legal since 2011, but between that time and June 26, 2015, 13 states still did not recognize the legality of gay marriage. With this victory, same-sex couples are now free to marry regardless of the state in which they reside. It is a hugely important step and should be celebrated. However, same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting are not the same in the eyes of the law – one does not equal the other*.
For LGBT couples who wish to build their families, third-party reproductive services play a significant role. Egg donors, sperm donors, and gestational surrogates are needed in modern family building for LGBT families, and each state has its own laws regarding what is and isn’t allowed, particularly in regard to surrogacy.
In New York and New Jersey, for example, surrogacy agreements in which the surrogate carrier is compensated, often referred to as gestational surrogacy, where the surrogate has no biological connection to the child, are not allowed. This law greatly affects the abilities of LGBT couples, particularly same-sex male couples, to have a child.
Those in need of gestational surrogacy to build their families will need to work with a surrogate who resides in a state that allows for compensated surrogacy agreements (such as Connecticut), which often means greater need for travel, and additional expense. Additionally, legal contract with the gestational carrier should be perfected in a gestational carrier friendly state (i.e. CT). Though, the medical aspects are not in violation as long as Dept. of Health code is followed in New York with donors etc.
Fortunately, fertility centers like Chelsea Fertility NYC are familiar with New York surrogacy law and have experience working with couples who require the help of a compensated surrogate. We can provide the advice and support needed along your journey to parenthood.
In some ways, the recent legalization of same-sex marriage can help LGBT couples who wish to have children. Previously, pre-birth orders, which names individuals as a child’s parents, were only possible if the parents of the child were legally married, and this was not possible in all states. However, if a couple is legally married, those states which once denied this right are now bound to accept pre-birth orders in accordance with the law. Again, this does not mean that same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting are one in the same – marriage is one right, and parenting is another. Your rights as an LGBT parent will still depend on the state in which you reside, which is why it is highly advisable to review these laws prior to undergoing third-party reproductive services.
We firmly believe that to start a family, “all you need is love” and a little help from Chelsea Fertility NYC. Our fertility services cater to LGBT couples, from our affordable Egg Exchange Program for same-sex female couples, to our support with egg donation and surrogacy services, we are an excellent resource for the LGBT community.
*Disclaimer: These points are an opinion and cannot be used as binding interpretation of law both state and federal.