Ep. 2: Paid Gestational Surrogacy

In the three decades since In re Baby M (1988)—the first legal battle concerning the legitimacy of surrogacy contracts—many states have adopted laws to deal with gestational surrogacy. In New York, it is currently illegal to compensate a woman to bear a child on behalf of commissioning parents.

A new law sponsored by state legislators Amy Paulin and Brad Hoylman could change that. The Child-Parent Security Act (first introduced in the 2013–14 legislative cycle) would allow for intended parents to commission and pay for a surrogate pregnancy. Hoylman himself paid a gestational surrogate in California to bear his daughter Silvia, now three, and he wants to make it easier for prospective parents in New York to do so as well.

The most noteworthy part of the legislation is Section 5A, the part of the bill that deals with compensation for paid gestational surrogates. It reads:

Compensation may be paid to a donor or gestational carrier based on services rendered, expenses that have been or will be incurred, time, and inconvenience. Under no circumstances may compensation be paid to purchase gametes or embryos or to pay for the relinquishment of a parental interest in a child.

Recently, Voices in Bioethics editorial staff members Derek Ayeh and Kevin Van Geem sat down with podcast host Rachel Bloom to discuss the ethics of paid gestational surrogacy.

To read the Child-Parent Security Act in its entirety, and to get updates on the status of the bill, please visit:

For the case details and philosophical issues at stake in the Baby M matter, please read:
Steinbock, Bonnie. “Surrogate Motherhood as Prenatal Adoption.” Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 16, no. 1–2 (1988): 44–50. Doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.1988.tb01049.x

For more on how market norms crowd out other moral considerations, including the corruption of human life due to gestational surrogacy contracts, please read:
Sandel, Michael J. What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits on the Market. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.

To read Gary Becker and Julio Jorge Elías’ argument in favor of a market for organs, please read:
Becker, Gary S. and Julio Jorge Elías. “Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 21, no. 3 (Summer 2007): 3–24.



One comment

  1. I’m a surrogate in CA, who had a baby 3 years ago for a single IP homosexual father in TX- he used both an egg and sperm donor. He passed away in November 2015, leaving the child without a parent. I have been involved in her life since day one and was initially named for guardianship in the father’s will, but was replaced last year with a woman in her 50’s that has not had contact with the child for over a year. It’s a very complicated legal case, and there are a total of 4 parties seeking custody, so I’m looking for a loophole. I’m hoping that the laws in CA where the contract was carried out might not hold in TX, but looking for any downfalls in the contract possible as I do believe I can provide the child with the most love and a life she deserves. I’ve been researching the Uniform Parentage Act and found a summary that mentions, “The court must verify the birth mother’s qualifications to carry the child and the intended parents’ qualifications to be parents.” I don’t believe the IP single father should have been verified as ‘qualified’ as a parent, what are the qualifications for this process? Also, I read elsewhere that a surrogate can not be verified if they have not parented previous children. This child was my first pregnancy. Any advice or guidance would be appreciated. I have an attorney in Texas, but am trying to do some research on my own. shelby.galeby@gmail.com

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