26 Sep 2012 Governor Signs California Surrogacy Bill
California Governor Jerry Brown announced in a release Monday that he has signed AB 1217, carried by Democratic Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes of Los Angeles.
The new law is the most significant surrogacy legislation ever enacted in the state of California and may serve as a model for legislation in other states. It fills a growing need between previously existing law and the rapidly evolving legal and social landscape of family formation via artificial reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy.
As I wrote earlier, AB 1217 creates clear guidance and best practices regarding surrogacy agreements. Although many of these procedures were being implemented by experienced ART practitioners, they were not required by law. The criteria outlined in the bill will clarify for courts what constitutes a properly executed surrogacy agreement and aims to protect all parties to the agreement—surrogate, intended parents and child—from potential exploitation.
Among its provisions, the new law will:
- Require that intended parents and a surrogate be represented by separate legal counsel.
- Require notarization of assisted reproduction agreements for gestational carriers (surrogates).
- Require execution of an agreement prior to embryo transplantation or administration of medications used in assisted reproduction—in other words, prior to pregnancy. (See more on this recent court case.)
- Permit intended parents to establish parentage prior to the child’s birth.
- Seal records of the agreement to all parties except the intended parents, surrogate, their attorneys and the state Department of Social Services.
Californians are fortunate to live in a state where progressive leadership continues to work to protect all children and all kinds of families. In many states, not only do laws lag far behind technological advances, but surrogacy and other types of assisted reproduction are either ignored by lawmakers or actively discouraged. In this area, as in so many others, California is playing a leading role. We hope the time is near when all families are valued and protected equally in all parts of our nation.