by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs
Published in ASRM Bulletin Volume 14, Number 45
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation yesterday intending to establish a legal framework for gestational carrier arrangements in the state. In vetoing the legislation, Christie argued that the state had not yet fully examined profound questions that surround creating a child through a contract, and that further study of the issue was necessary. The sponsors of the bill refuted the need for further study citing the year long legislative process which involved input from various stakeholders and public hearings on the issue.
While surrogacy arrangements are legal in New Jersey, these contracts today are governed under the state’s adoption laws and by restrictive case law. ASRM welcomed legislation to provide a statutory framework that recognized the distinctions between adoption and surrogacy and worked with the bill’s sponsors, as well as lawyers in the state, to write legislation aimed at protecting all parties entering into a gestational surrogacy arrangement and for ensuring that such contracts are enforceable.
The legislation, S1599, would have established consistent standards and procedural safeguards for surrogacy contracts, created eligibility requirements for those entering into contracts, and defined the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved in the contract to ensure the contract was entered into with great consideration. The bill also eliminated the three-day waiting period for parents of children born to surrogates to be listed on their birth certificates and required the gestational carrier to surrender custody of the child to the intended parents immediately upon the child's birth.
New Jersey has not amended its surrogacy law since the Baby M case in 1988, which defined the legal relationship between a surrogate using her own egg and the intended parents of the child born of the surrogacy agreement.
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