MHB calls for legalizing surrogacy in New York State

Men Having Babies is calling for legalizing surrogacy in New York, describing the proposed Child Parent Security Act (CPSA) as "the most comprehensive and thoughtful surrogacy legislation ever drafted." MHB is urging the thousands of NY gay men in its network, current and future fathers, to encourage their legislators to pass the bill, and join us for the June 11th Albany Lobby Day.

On May 29, 2019, MHB's executive director, Ron Poole-Dayan, joined several experts and community leaders to testify in hearings about the CPSA at the NY Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Senator Brad Hoylman. Poole-Dayan offered the perspective of our board and team, which includes parents, surrogates and allies. He spoke about the need for the CPSA, its alignment with MHB's Framework For Ethical Surrogacy, and our hope the legislature steers clear of amendments that can render the bill not just ineffective but also harmful.

Following recent legislation in NJ, DC, VT and WA, New York is one of only 3 states in the nation where surrogacy is still illegal. After long consideration and much deliberations, the CPSA was introduced by Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember Paulin, and will likely come to a vote soon. Despite a very large number of co-sponsors, and strong support from Governor Cuomo, some opposition still exists from both Catholic organizations and some leftist activists, supposedly on the grounds that it legalizes "the commodification of women’s bodies.”

MHB joined other prominent organizations to form the Protecting Modern Families Coalition. Hundreds of our members already used the coalition’s Take Action link to urge their NY representatives to pass the CPSA.

At the Albany hearing, Poole-Dayan described the growing numbers (and younger age) of gay men who are interested in becoming fathers — as evident by the larger attendance at our annual conferences. “Emerging out of the demographic disruption caused by the AIDS epidemic, a growing number of gay men gained social acceptance, formed stable relationships and attained financial stability. Growing media visibility of our families led to changing attitudes. Coming out no longer means that you won’t have a marriage or family.”

Ron Poole-Dayan, Men Having Babies' executive director, testifying in NY Senate hearings about the CPSA. View more at the Q&A session.

However due to biological and social constraints, gay men face the most obstacles in their quest for parenting. Indeed most of our members still live in places where adoption by male couples is either not allowed, unavailable or a cultural up hill battle. Reproductive technology offers a viable alternative, but it is very expensive. It also requires the help of a surrogate.

"From day one we didn’t assume that the end justifies the means," said Poole-Dayan. "As an organization we strongly believe in the potential benefits and meaningful relationships surrogacy arrangements can bring about. This was reinforced as we met the dozens of surrogates who spoke at our events over the years. With the help of an advisory committee formed by some of these surrogates, we set out to outline surrogacy practices that minimize the risks and maximize the potential short and long-term benefits to all involved. The resulting Framework for Ethical Surrogacy, endorsed by LGBT organizations worldwide and translated to 7 languages.”

"We're thankful for the opportunity we had to share our Ethical Framework with Senator Hoylman and others who worked on this legislation over the years, and we're thrilled to see that the proposed CPSA is in very close alignments with our ethical position. We are also inspired and appreciative of Governor Cuomo's adamant support of this legislation, and his insistence that you cannot be considered pro LGBT if you oppose ethical surrogacy legislation."

MHB's executive director and several of our parents stood by Governor Andrew Cuomo as he launched a campaign to legalize surrogacy in New York.

Among its many merits, the CPSA will:
  • Ease the financial burden involved in surrogacy for NY residents, which will no longer need to travel far and wide to find a surrogate.
  • Make it easier for prospective parents to keep in touch with the families that helped fulfill their dream of parenthood
  • Protect the interests of prospective surrogates, their families, the parents and the child
  • Recognize that surrogates deserve a compensation for.
“It is critical to recognize that even if compensated, surrogates do not 'sell a baby'," Poole-Dayan said. Indeed, they are still compensated regardless of the outcome of the process, for "the risk they undertake, physical discomfort, and the disruption this process causes to their lives.”

Lastly, Poole-Dayan praised the CPSA for ensuring a secure legal relationship to the parents from the moment of birth. “We hear there are those who advocate granting surrogates the option of "changing their mind" and “keeping” the child, which is not even genetically related to them in any way. However our experience, evidence from research shows surrogates truly believe this is never their child: they are just the “baby-sitter” for nine months, helping a different couple have their own child. The bill needs to reinforce this moral outlook, and not insert uncertainty and intolerable tension into the journey."

More about the CPSA:

(no longer relevant:)

Members are encouraged to do more by:

Joining ALBANY LOBBY DAY, on Tuesday, June 11th (along with special guest Andy Cohen)

Writing a personal short email or calling their legislators, especially if they are on one of these two lists: