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New York families and surrogates struggle with family law

Surrogacy can be a truly beautiful gift for New York couples who are struggling to conceive a child, but the family law side of things is not always as straight forward as it could be. In many instances, surrogate mothers do not actually have any biological connection to the child but still end up listed as the mother on the birth certificate. While this should typically be a straightforward fix, one family has been struggling with family law courts to have a correct birth certificate issued.

When a local couple had trouble conceiving, the wife's cousin stepped up to help. Under New York state law, surrogates cannot be paid for their help, but that was not an issue for the family. The cousin was impregnated with her cousin's fertilized egg and had a normal pregnancy that resulted in a healthy baby boy. The child was immediately turned over to his biological parents per the agreement, but in the eyes of the law, they are not exactly a legal family.

Instead of the child's biological parents -- the mother and father who supplied the egg and the sperm for the fertilized egg -- the birth certificate lists the surrogate mother and her husband as the parents. While this is a normal result of a surrogacy birth, the boy's parents are struggling to have the birth certificate voided and have a new one issued with the correct information. Considering the legal implications of having different parents listed on the certificate, all parties involved have serious concerns about the time it is taking to have the original certificate invalidated.

New York family law requires that the parental rights of a surrogate must first be terminated before a new birth certificate can be issued. Many argue that state law regarding surrogates is behind the times and places an unnecessary additional burden on parents and surrogates alike. However, until such a time that new legislation is introduced, the right guidance can help parents pursue the necessary amendments to a child's birth certificate.

Source:, "Parents fight to get their names on their own baby's birth certificate", Theresa Edwards, Jan. 29, 2016

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