New Jersey’s “gestational carrier bill” a/k/a “rent-a-womb,” twice vetoed by Governor Christie, has again passed both houses of the New Jersey legislature and is waiting on Governor Murphy’s desk for his signature or veto.
What is the law now?
Right now, under the “In Re Baby M” decision, surrogacy contracts are not enforced by NJ courts. Surrogacy contracts still happen: they are governed by NJ Adoption Law. The expenses of surrogate mothers are paid, which can be as much as $60,000, and they have three days to sign the surrender.
The biological facts go on the original birth record. “Intended Parent(s)” must file for NJ adoption, have a home study. When their petition for adoption is granted, a new “birth certificate” is issued listing the intended parent(s) as having given birth to the child (with or without a womb). The original birth record is sealed. Under a law that took effect on January 1, 2017, as an adult the person whose birth was recorded has the right to that original birth record.
What will this bill do?
If this new law is signed, NJ will no longer make biology-based birth records for newborns conceived to be raised by others. The “Intended Parent(s),” those who sign the contract for the baby, will be on the original birth record — without NJ residency, without a home study, without a biological connection to the child.
Currently in New Jersey, every woman has the choice to abort or continue a pregnancy. No woman has to ask anyone for permission: not her husband, not her parents, not the baby’s father. It is her choice.
If signed, as Deputy Speaker Valerie Huttle confirmed in the Assembly Hearing, the “carrier” does not have that choice. Whether to abort or continue the pregnancy belongs to the “intended parent(s),” the contract signers.
One attorney testified in support of the bill: she said multiple pregnancies requiring “reduction” or risk to the mother would be rare because NJ doctors transfer only one embryo, or two if they know to a medical certainty the multiple pregnancy can be sustained. But that limitation is not in the Bill. There are no limits to the number of embryos that may be transferred. Note well that the reported industry norm is to transfer two or three embryos.
Proponents say the bill gives New Jersey’s infertile couples the right to have their own biological children. But the Bill does not require the contract signers to use their own genetic material: eggs and sperm are for sale.
Proponents say most who will use surrogates are New Jersey residents who will provide stable loving homes to children. But the Bill does not require residency, and there are no required inquires (like with adoption) to ensure the “Intended Parent(s)” intend to or are able to provide a loving home.
Governor Christie vetoed this bill twice. It has not been modified.
How to Ask Governor Murphy to Veto S482
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
609-292-6000 (operators do not take your personal information)