Gestational carrier agreements are now allowed in the state of New Jersey
What is gestational carrier IVF?
IVF, also know as the test tube baby procedure, is a treatment for infertility in which an egg is fertilized with the sperm outside of the body, and the embryo that results is implanted into the womb. With standard IVF, the embryo is implanted into the woman whose eggs were used, that is the intended mother. With a gestational carrier IVF, the embryos is implanted into another women who will carry the baby for her.
How does gestational carrier differ from surrogacy?
To most folks, gestational carrier and IVF are the same thing, but they are not. With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is both both the biologic mother (since the eggs come from her) and the birth mother (since she will give birth to the baby). It was possible to this even before the invention of IVF. This is rarely done nowadays. With gestational carrier IVF, the intended mother is still the biologic mother, since her eggs are used, and the gestational carrier is the birth mother only.
Was using a gestational carrier illegal before?
Technically no, but in reality it was in New Jersey. There was a case called the Baby M many years ago in which a surrogate mother refused to hand the child over to the intended mother, even though she had a written agreement to do, and the baby’s biologic father was married to the intended mother. The NJ supreme court gave custody to the birth mother. Since that time, attorneys have advised their clients seeking to use a carrier to utilize a carrier who will give birth in another state, one in which the rights of intended parents to recognize these contracts are protected by law.
Why is the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act such a big deal for fertility treatment in New Jersey?
The act allows binding legal contracts to be drawn up between intended parents and their gestational carrier. For the first time, couples in New Jersey can use a gestational carrier and do treatment near home knowing that they will actually be able to keep their own child.
What kind of stipulations are required for surrogacy contracts under the new law?
This is a not a substitute for the advise of an attorney who is knowledgeable in Reproductive Law, but here are a few the more important points:
Both parties must have legal representation
The carrier must be at least 21
Appropriate psychological counseling is required
If the intended mother is married or in a civil union, whether heterosexual or lesbian, their partner must be a party to the agreement
The gestational carrier is required to hand the baby over immediately upon birth, and the intended parents must accept the child as their own regardless of the baby’s medical condition.
The intended parents cover the gestational carrier’s medical costs associated with the pregnancy.
How do we get started?
If you need IVF and think you need to use a gestational carrier, the first thing to do is see a reproductive medicine physician. Many couples who think they need a carrier actually do not, so it is best speaking to a specialist at the outset. If you would like to come to our practice, click here to help set up an appointment.