State-by-State Surrogacy Laws: Surrogacy in New Jersey
In 2018, the New Jersey Legislature passed the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act regulating gestational surrogacy agreements and providing regulations on its practice. While some of the regulations are protective in nature, the Act limits the circumstances in which surrogacy can take place; specifically, under NJ law, surrogates cannot receive compensation. In New Jersey payments to surrogates is restricted to the reimbursement of “reasonable living expenses” such as food, clothing, medical, shelter, and counseling services. This is an outlier in how commercial surrogacy is practiced in most other US states where surrogates receive compensation commensurate with the inherent health risks of pregnancy and the personal time/effort surrogates invest in surrogacy as an endeavor.
Intended Parents doing a journey with a New Jersey-based surrogate must go through a psychological examination and must be represented by a qualified attorney who understands surrogacy law locally. Intended Parents may have a harder time finding a surrogate in New Jersey as altruistic-only surrogates are rarer in general. Given local limitations, Intended Parents in New Jersey will often use surrogates from other states.
Traditional surrogacy (where a surrogate uses her own eggs) is allowed, though it must also be altruistic and surrogacy agreements are not enforceable/pre-birth agreements are not permitted. Intended Parents must go through an adoption process following the birth of their child(ren) via traditional surrogacy. For these reasons, traditional surrogacy is not usually recommended, though individual circumstances do vary.
For specific legal advice, you will need to find a qualified attorney licensed in New Jersey. Check out our attorney directory to help you find one. If your state is not listed, check back soon.
The information presented below as an excellent starting place for doing your own research on the surrogacy process. It’s important to remember that the information provided is not a replacement for specific advice from a surrogacy-knowledgeable attorney licensed in your state. Always obtain legal advice from a trusted professional prior to beginning a surrogacy journey.
Is commercial surrogacy in New Jersey legal?
No. Surrogates can only be reimbursed for “reasonable expenses”. This limitation by statue prevents many women from becoming surrogates and makes finding surrogates in New Jersey a tall order.
Can I do an independent surrogacy journey in New Jersey?
Yes. As long as you follow New Jersey’s surrogacy-specific regulations, you can do a surrogate journey independently or via an agency in the state.
Who can become an Intended Parent using surrogacy?
New Jersey’s laws allow all types of individuals to access surrogacy equally. There are no specific restrictions based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
Additional information about surrogacy in New Jersey:
Pre-birth orders are readily available even in circumstances where neither Intended Parent are genetically related to the child(ren). The New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act clearly defines Intended parents as the party that should receive custody and are financially and otherwise responsible for the resulting child(ren) following a gestational surrogacy journey. As long as they follow the guidelines laid out in Act (e.g. having a valid gestational carrier agreement), the intended parents have a very clear path in establishing their parental rights in the state.
In New Jersey, reproduction healthcare and access to abortion are considered fundamental rights for women under the state constitution. Because of these protections, women can receive emergency care locally in the event of unexpected pregnancy complications. This is an important consideration for any pregnancy as you never know when complications may arise.
Agreements pertaining to surrogacy in New Jersey must be fully executed prior to embryo transfer and must include a surrogate’s willingness to surrender any claims with respect to parental rights as well as the Intended Parents affirmation of their responsibility to accept any resulting children into their custody immediately following the birth. Under the guidance of your attorney, you will carefully and thoughtful address what responsibilities of each party are and how you will meet all the legal requirements. Surrogates must be represented by their own attorney of their choosing; Intended Parents must pay for the surrogate’s representation.
Besides the limitations on compensation, what are some of the general requirements to become a surrogate in NJ?
The first step is to make sure you meet the medical and psychological requirements. Surrogacy Place put together a short surrogacy-qualifications quiz. Take it and see if you may meet some of the basic requirements.
In general, surrogates must:
- pass psychological and medical exams given by licensed professionals.
- be US citizens or legal residents.
- be represented by their own attorney (paid for/reimbursed by Intended Parents).
- have not experienced significant complications from past pregnancies.
- have had at least one child of your own that you birthed.
- have financial stability including not being enrolled in government assistance programs.
- not use drugs or smoke and are not exposed to hazardous toxins.
- be at least 21 years old and usually no older than 42.
- take medication as prescribed and follow all medical protocols including hormone injections as prescribed by the Intended Parent’s Reproductive Endocrinologist and your OB-GYN.
- have excellent overall health including a BMI within a healthy range (e.g. < 32).
If you meet the legal, medical, and general requirements, you can proceed to the next step which is matching.
Serious about becoming a surrogate? Here’s a general guide. Do note New Jersey specific requirements are best discussed with a qualified attorney.
Ready to match using Surrogacy Place?
Surrogacy Place created a platform to let surrogates and Intended Parents find each other. Our searchable platform lets you directly connect with Intended Parents or surrogates. If you need a match locally in New Jersey or somewhere else surrogacy is practiced in the United States, we have custom search capabilities to assist you.
Get started and create an account at Surrogacy Place.
There are advantages to going independent and not using a surrogacy agency
Independent matching allows all parties to directly vet each other based on all the things important to them. There’s also no pressure to accept a bad match. With the guidance of a trusted team of a qualified attorney and your Reproductive Endocrinologist, you can complete a surrogacy journey on your terms.
If you’re considering matching independently, you’re far from alone. Read why surrogates often prefer indy journeys.
How much does surrogacy generally cost? We created a rundown. Please note: our overview covers commercial, compensated surrogacy which is not applicable if doing a journey with a NJ-based surrogate. Always follow local laws.
Looking for information about surrogacy in commercial-surrogacy permitted states? We now have a surrogacy by state resources hub.