New York Post


Cuomo eyes lifting $urrogate-mom ban


The Cuomo administra­tion is weighing whether to lift the ban on commercial surrogacy in New York — a top priority of gayrights advocates following the legalizati­on of samesex marriage, The Post has learned.

The governor’s Task Force on Life and the Law is quietly looking at lifting the prohibitio­n, which has been in place since 1993.

“Gestationa­l surrogate pregnancy contracts should be a viable option for potential parents,” said Valerie Guttman Koch, an adviser to the task force, who confirmed that the panel is advising Cuomo on commercial surrogacy. “I don’t have moral qualms with the practice.”

A state law would have to be approved by the state Legislatur­e and Cuomo to lift the ban on surrogacy contracts.

A bill called the ChildParen­t Security Act, which has been introduced by state Sen. Brad Hoylman (DManhattan) and Assemblywo­man Amy Paulin (DWestchest­er), would legalize surrogacy through gestationa­l pregnancie­s, where a woman is paid to go through the pregnancy and deliver a child who is not geneticall­y related — a practice opponents slam as “womb for rent.”

In this process, the pregnant woman, or carrier, does not use her own biological eggs. Instead, she is artificial­ly impregnate­d with someone’s else’s egg and sperm through in vitro fertilizat­ion. She then hands the baby over to the legal parents after birth.

The proposal’s chances increase if Cuomo throws his support behind it.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in June vetoed a bill that would have legalized commercial surrogacy there.

The ban has forced samesex couples and infertile straight couples to travel out of state for the proce dure, which can cost more than $100,000.

“Things have certainly shifted in terms of recognitio­n of gay marriage,” said Nathan Schaefer, director of the New York Empire State Pride agenda, which supports lifting the ban. “There’s interest from more and more couples to pursue gestationa­l surrogacy as an option to have children.”

Opponents claim gestationa­l pregnancy exploits women and shows that modern medicine has run amok.

“Women didn’t get this far to be treated like breeding animals,” said Jennifer Lahl of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network.

“We try to get a mother and a baby to bond,” Lahl continued. “We’re against ripping the baby from the mother the moment he leaves the womb. It’s not good for the child.”

Supporters of surrogacy complain that New York’s law is outdated and discrimina­tes against couples who want to have children.

The ban was put into place after the infamous “Baby M” case in New Jersey, when surrogate mother Mary Beth Whitehead reneged on a paid baby contract after she was inseminate­d with a man’s sperm and gave birth. The courts then invalidate­d the contract.

But in that case, Whitehead was the biological mother because her own eggs were used.

With medical advances, nearly all testtube surrogate births today are done through gestationa­l pregnancy.

 ??  ?? MESSY: Mary Beth Whitehead ignited debate on surrogate mothers when she decided to keep her baby in 1986.
MESSY: Mary Beth Whitehead ignited debate on surrogate mothers when she decided to keep her baby in 1986.

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