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August 1, 2014

New California Surrogacy Bill is the Most Progressive in the World

For California, surrogacy law has progressed in leaps and bounds in the past decade. In 1993, the landmark Johnson v. Calvert case established that the procreative intent of the parties would be used to determine the legal parents in a surrogacy relationship. The California court of appeals then expanded on that ruling in 1998, and now includes parents with absolutely no genetic relation to the child. Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1217 into law, in reaction to the incendiary scandals and called to modernize California’s surrogacy statutes relating to third party reproduction—this law coming less than two month after a similar surrogacy bill in New Jersey was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. Efforts to codify the California surrogacy law have been ongoing for two decades without success, until now.

Some key points in the groundbreaking article include:

• To ensure that adequate protections are established to safeguard intended parents, surrogates and children. The bill was also intended to be non-discriminatory, recognizing the rights of all prospective parents, without regard to marital status, or genetic connection to the child. That is why the definition of ‘intended parents’ was plainly defined as ‘an individual, married or unmarried, who manifests the intent to be legally bound as the parent of a child resulting from assisted reproduction.’

Recent California surrogacy legislation also contains a little provision that may appear unimportant at a glance. However, Assembly Bill 1217 actually holds the potential to dramatically alter who is a parent by defining “intended parent” as an “individual” whether “married or unmarried.” Subsequent California case law has expanded on this definition even more so, and now includes same sex couples, whether registered as Domestic Partners under California law, or same sex cohabitants.

• Assembly Bill 1217 also contains a number of important safeguards designed to protect all parties involved in surrogacy arrangements, which includes requirements that both sides of a surrogacy arrangement be represented by independent counsel. This is under the pretense that the gestational carrier agreement must be in effect before injectable medications commence.

• The law permits to establish the parent-child relationship and sets forth where that should be filed. Bill 1217 was written for intended parents and surrogates, with the purpose of establishing legal parenthood and to minimize discrimination in surrogacy.

The points set forth are just some of the reasons California surrogacy laws are some of the most progressive found anywhere, making it the most favorable state in which to have your surrogacy preformed.