Another great reason
What To Do When The Law In Your State Is Hostile To Family-Building (Looking At You, New York)
So what can New York attorneys do to help protect their clients?
If you are an assisted reproductive technology attorney, New York is not a good state to practice in. For one, in contrast to the vast majority of the rest of the country, compensated gestational surrogacy arrangements are illegal. Like, breaking-the-law, it’s-a-felony, illegal.
Worse, even altruistic (no compensation) gestational surrogacy agreements are unenforceable. Meaning, if you had cancer and lost your uterus, and your cousin agreed to carry your genetic child for you, any agreement you had with your cousin could not be enforced in court. And even assuming your cousin followed through on giving you your baby, you would still not be recognized as a legal parent of your child until undergoing an adoption or other legal process after the birth.
That’s not even where it ends. If you are a single woman, and you turn to a sperm donor to have a child, under New York law, the donor could seek parental rights to your child. And if you’re the donor, don’t get comfortable. The mother could come after you for child support. That’s a precarious situation for everyone, including the child.
The rest of the country has accepted that many people want, or need, to form their families in other ways than the traditional married heterosexual couple blessed with unassisted reproduction. And that those families that are aided by assisted reproductive technology also deserve recognition and protection. But New York lags behind.
So what do New York attorneys do to help protect their clients?
The Attorney Advocate
I spoke with Amy Demma, a New York licensed attorney with a law practice specific to assisted reproductive technology (ART) law. She explained that when families come to her for counsel in a situation where they need to turn to a surrogate to have a child, frequently her best advice is to refer the families to other attorneys. As in, attorneys not in New York. She advises them to leave the state in order to be able to consider gestational surrogacy in a legally safe and protected way.
But Demma, and other New York attorneys, are not sitting down while families are forced to travel to less hostile jurisdictions. For the last seven years, Demma has joined her New York ART colleagues, most of them members of New York Attorneys for Adoption and Assisted Family Formation (NYAAFF). Together they have worked tirelessly to advocate for legislation — and specifically a bill called the Child-Parent Security Act (CPSA) — to support New York families.
From ABOVE THE LAW Article by Ellen Trachman
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