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The New Jersey Bioethics Commission Report on Surrogacy

When the unanimous decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in the Baby M case was published, the Court held that surrogacy contracts were in violation of every statute and public policy of our state that dealt with the rights of mothers, the rights of children, the issues dealing with adoption and termination of a mother's rights.

At the end of that opinion, our Supreme Court observed that the case highlights many of the problems and evils of surrogacy - including the potential exploitation of women - but that the people and the culture must determine if our policies and laws, after careful consideration, should be changed subject to constitutional constraints.

As a result of that decision, the Governor and the Legislature asked the New Jersey Bioethics Commission to study the issue of whether laws should be changed to create an enabling statute.

In that report, the Bioethics Commission strongly condemned all forms of surrogacy including "gestational surrogacy", which is not a new method to attempt to avoid state law. In that report, the Commission noted that every evil associated with surrogacy where the mother giving birth is genetically related to the child, is present with so-called "gestational surrogacy". In that report, the Bioethics Commission, chaired by the Honorable Paul Armstrong, recommended that the legislature pass legislation that deters the conduct, including some quasi-criminal sanctions, and impose rules specially tailored for the award of custody in those limited instances when deterrence fails.

You can find a full copy of the New Jersey Bioethics Commission Report by clicking on the following link: NJ Ethics Report on Surrogacy September 1992. Please allow up to three minutes for the file to load as it is a rather large file.

There is a very extensive and thoughtful summary located at the begging of the report for ease of reference of the findings and recommendations to the Legislature.

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