In 1992 New York state outlawed paid surrogacy after the famed Baby M case in which a gestational mother refused to surrender her baby to the New Jersey couple who had paid her to carry the child. Three years ago openly gay New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman and his now-husband had a baby via surrogacy with a California woman. Hoylman this week became the state Senate sponsor of a bill to repeal New York’s ban.
Surrogate baby-making has long been a path taken by the affluent and celebrities, partly because it takes good legal advice and money to accomplish. But in recent years, it has been growing among gay men, who in a fundamentally conservative embrace of family values, see having children and building a family as the logical next step after getting married. “Not to be cliché, but you know how the phrase goes — first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby and the baby carriage,” said Allison Steinberg, a spokeswoman for the Empire State Pride Agenda, which has endorsed the bill.
The bill’s supporters argue that it makes no sense for New York, which has a large number of fertility clinics, not to mention a flourishing gay community, not to be able to offer commercial surrogacy to those who want it. And they say that making surrogacy more widely available could reduce the exorbitant costs, easily as much as $100,000 per baby. In Mr. Hoylman and Mr. Sigal’s case, neither of their parents expected them to have children. “Now they think he’s a family man,” Mr. Sigal said, grinning at his husband. “It’s a funny phrase,” Mr. Hoylman said. “This is what it takes for people to relate to you.”
Gestational surrogacy can cost over $100,000, including medical and legal fees. So-called altruistic surrogacy, in which the mother is not paid, is legal in New York state. Paid surrogacy is also illegal in Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, and Washington DC, according to the New York Times.