Surrogates in New York have some of the best protections in the whole world. New York has the Surrogates’ Bill of Rights that applies to every surrogate living in NY (regardless of whether they’re matched with out-of-state intended parents and following that state’s laws).
Here’s a summary of your rights:
- Medical Decisions – you get to make all decisions regarding your health and the pregnancy. This includes big things like how many embryos to transfer, whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy and whether to selectively reduce a fetus. It also includes choosing your own medical providers, whether to receive pain medication during delivery and whether to have a c-section.
- Legal Counsel – you have a right to independent legal counsel, meaning your attorney will be working for you only (not your agency or the intended parents). Your attorney must be licensed to practice law in New York and your attorney’s fees will be paid by the intended parents. Your attorney will help you during the contract negotiation phase all the way through the birth of the baby and the final payments under the contract, which can occur up to a year after delivery.
- Health Insurance – you have a right to have health insurance in place that covers all of the expenses of the surrogacy pregnancy from prior to embryo transfer until a year after delivery. If your current health insurance covers a surrogate pregnancy, you may receive reimbursement for your premiums from the intended parents. If your current policy doesn’t work, the intended parents will purchase a policy for you specifically for the surrogate pregnancy.
- Medical Expenses – the intended parents will pay for all of your medical expenses associated with the pregnancy and any counseling you receive. This includes co-pays, deductibles, uncovered services, etc. They will also cover all of the baby’s medical expenses from the moment of birth.
- Counseling – you have a right to receive psychological counseling throughout the surrogacy process and up to one year after the birth. The counseling will be paid for by the intended parents.
- Life Insurance – you will have a policy in place on your life that provides $750,000 (or the most you qualify based on your income and health) to beneficiaries of your choosing.
- Termination of the Surrogacy Agreement – you have a right to terminate the surrogacy agreement for any reason prior to becoming pregnant. If that happens, you are entitled to keep any money already paid to you and you have no financial obligations to the intended parents. If for someone reason you change your mind about being a surrogate, no one wants to apply financial pressure to you to force you to continue.
You can access the full text of the Surrogate’s Bill of Rights at: https://www.nysurrogacycenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Surrogates-Bill-of-Rights-New-York-Surrogacy-Center.pdf.