ALBANY, NY – A group of more than 200 women who have acted as gestational surrogates sent a letter today to New York State elected leaders calling on them to pass the Child-Parent Security Act in this year’s legislative session. The legislation was included in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget presented earlier this week.
“We know better than anyone what it takes to serve as a surrogate – and we believe that anyone who dreams of having a family should be able to do so. There is simply no greater joy than helping a family bring a new life into this world. It’s time for New York to catch up to the rest of the country and end the ban on surrogacy,” said Tanesha McCoy-Washington of Atlanta, Georgia.
“We want to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this issue and for including the Child-Parent Security Act in his executive budget this year. Our shared experiences are at the foundation of this commonsense legislation. On behalf of the New York families that we are honored to be a part of, we call on the legislature to lift the ban on surrogacy,” said Lisa Wippler of Cedartown, Georgia.
January 23, 2020
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo Governor, State of New York
New York State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224
The Honorable Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Majority Leader, New York State Senate
New York State Capitol Albany, NY 12224
The Honorable Carl E. Heastie
Speaker, New York Assembly
New York State Capitol Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Heastie:
As women who have chosen to become gestational surrogates, we want to thank you for your consideration of the Child-Parent Security Act, common-sense legislation included in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal that is rooted in the shared experience of surrogates over the past 30 years. Our support for this legislation comes from our firsthand experience in enabling families in New York and elsewhere to have children of their own. There are few things as rewarding as seeing a parent hold a newborn baby for the first time and knowing that you brought that life into the world for them.
We have come to this issue from different backgrounds and perspectives, but we share the universal belief that everyone who dreams of having a family should be able to do so. Advances in medicine over the past three decades have made biological parenthood possible for so many who would never have been able to have children before – but science can only take us so far. For many hopeful parents, surrogacy is their only option.
To understand how we view our role as gestational surrogates (this means that we have no genetic relationship with the child), it’s helpful to understand how we chose this path. All of us are lucky to have families of our own. We know the incomparable joy that comes from raising children, and also know— from our experiences with intended parents—the deep pain that comes when you are told that parenthood isn’t possible for you.
The decision to serve as a surrogate is not one that any of us entered into lightly. We each researched the science and the legal guidelines, learned about the experiences of other surrogates, and thought deeply about the commitment and process involved. For us, it came down to giving the gift of life to people who want nothing more than to raise children of their own.
Not everyone understands the way surrogacy works today in the United States. For some, their notions of surrogacy are rooted in outdated practices, beliefs that were abandoned decades ago, or practices they have heard about that may take place in developing countries. Some even believe that gestational surrogacy is a potential evil to be foisted upon unaware or vulnerable women.
We want to dispel those myths. It’s important that people know that the primary motivation for each of us, and for all the surrogates we’ve come into contact with, is helping a family, not financial reward. Surrogacy today is a true partnership between the woman acting as a surrogate, the intended parent(s), doctors and nurses, and the matching agency. We all get to know one another, see if we’re a good match, and then work together through this process of bringing a baby into the world.
Most of us maintain close relationships with the families that we worked with, exchanging holiday and birthday cards and sharing (at least through photographs) milestones with one another.
The Child-Parent Security Act includes comprehensive protections for women acting as surrogates, which, if passed, would establish the strongest protections for surrogates in the nation. The bill would enshrine into law a Surrogate’s Bill of Rights, protecting our right to make decisions regarding our health; ensuring that we have our own legal representation; and guaranteeing access to comprehensive health insurance, counseling, and life insurance.
It’s incomprehensible to us that a woman who wants to serve as a gestational surrogate and help a family bring a baby into the world, and who meets the rigorous screening process of surrogacy matching agencies to ensure suitability, would be prevented by state law from being able to do so. Whose interest is that serving? Certainly not that of prospective surrogates, nor of intended parents.
We understand better than anyone what it takes to serve as a surrogate – and what it means to families who rely on surrogacy to have children. On behalf of these families, we urge you to end New York’s ban and replace it with what would be the most supportive law in the country for both women acting as surrogates and intended parents.
For a link to the signed letter, please go to https://fmeq.co/surrogates-letter.
About Family Equality
Family Equality advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality believes every LGBTQ+ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at familyequality.org.
About the Protecting Modern Families Coalition
The Protecting Modern Families Coalition is a project of Family Equality, and advocates for New York families who rely on advances in medical assistance to have children. The coalition is made up of leading women’s, LGTBQ, infertility, and faith organizations dedicated to passing the Child-Parent Security Act during the 2020 legislative session. Supporters of the Child-Parent Security Act include: the Academy for Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, Albany Damien Center, Alliance for Fertility Preservation, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Auburn Theological Seminary, The Breasties, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Equality New York, Family Equality, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Hispanic Health Network, Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Latino Commission on AIDS, The LGBT Community Center of NYC, Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, The LOFT: LGBT Community Center (Westchester County), Men Having Babies, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Council of Jewish Women NY, New York Attorneys for Adoption and Family Formation, New York City Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, New York Transgender Advocacy Group, Oasis, Latino LGBTS Wellness Center, Pride for Youth & Long Island Crisis Center, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC, SAGE: Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders, The Chick Mission, The LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, UJA-Federation of New York, Union Theological Seminary, and the Women’s Bar Association of NY. To learn more, visit www.modernfamiliescoalition.com.
Ed Harris / Chief Communications Officer
Learn more about the campaign to pass the Child-Parent Security Act: