Legislators Monday will have a busy day both in the Senate and Assembly as they vote on a number of bills, some health-related.
Laws on gestational carrier agreements, hepatitis C testing, dementia, the reopening of a psychiatric hospital, earned sick leave and opioid prescription warning stickers are at the top of the list on the health care front.
The Senate will vote on a bill that would allow gestational carrier agreements — where a woman agrees to carry and give birth to a child that is not genetically related to her — for an individual or couples seeking to expand their families.
The New Jersey Legislature is advancing a statute that would enable individuals to enter into enforceable agreements for surrogate parenthood via gestational carriers. The New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act (S-482, A-1704) awaits only final legislative approval and the signature of Gov. Phil Murphy to become law.
In gestational surrogacy, a woman agrees to be implanted with a fertilized egg that is not hers, and to carry the fetus to term. The fetus is conceived in vitro, using egg and sperm from donors who are unrelated to the woman. The act requires such agreements to be in writing; additionally, the carrier must be over age 21 and have already borne at least one child of her own; her spouse or partner must consent in writing, and the intended parents must provide financial and medical support to the woman throughout her pregnancy and delivery. All parties must also undergo psychological evaluation and be represented by independent counsel. The woman carrying the fetus must surrender custody of the baby to the intended parents immediately upon birth. The act specifies that during the pregnancy, the intended parents must initiate a proceeding for an order of parentage. After the birth, the state will issue a birth certificate listing only the intended parents as the legal parents. Records relating to the agreement will remain confidential, but the child may petition for access when he or she turns 18.