As more and more couples seek​ to expand their families through surrogacy arrangements, there is growing support ​for a change to the 1992 New York state law that bans payments to surrogate mothers. At the end of last year, the New York Health Department’s Task Force on Life and the Laws recommended an ​immediate ​ end to the ban on surrogacy. The report of the Task ​F​orce cited both cultural changes and advances in in vitro fertilization since the state first prohibited surrogacy arrangements in 1992. It also ​took note of the 2011 law that legalized ​marriage equality in New York: “Equity must be a driving principle if all families are to enjoy the opportunity to welcome children into their family,” the report stated. “Gestational surrogacy affords lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families an important opportunity to have children.”

​​New York State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) has had two children through surrogacy with his husband. He has introduced the Child-Parent Security Act, which would enable surrogate parents to adopt a child before its birth. It would also set the conditions for reimbursement and compensation to donors and gestational carriers. Thomas Laughlin, Esq., a securities lawyer, has had three children through surrogacy with his husband, all of whom were born in Texas because of the prohibition of New York State law. Charles Kaiser, Associate Director of the LGBT Social Science and Public Policy Center at Hunter College, will moderate a panel discussion about the push to change New York state law.

Hoylman Cooper Laughlin Kaiser


State Senator Brad Hoylman represents New York’s 27th State Senate District, which covers much of the heart of Manhattan, including the neighborhoods of Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Upper West Side, Midtown/East Midtown, Columbus Circle, Times Square, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, the East Village and Lower East Side. He was first elected to the State Senate in November 2012 after spending more than 20 years as a Democratic grassroots activist in the communities he represents. Senator Hoylman is a former Democratic District Leader and three-term Chair of Manhattan Community Board 2, a former Trustee of the Community Service Society, and is a former board member of the Empire State Pride Agenda, Tenants & Neighbors, Class Size Matters and Citizen Action. A past-president of the Gay & Lesbian Independent Democrats, he and his husband, David Sigal, and their young daughter, Silvia, are members of the LGBT synagogue, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. He is a graduate of West Virginia University and Harvard Law School. He is also a former Rhodes Scholar.

Elizabeth B. Cooper is Associate Professor at Fordham Law School and Faculty Director of the Feerick Center for Social Justice. She has published numerous articles, particularly addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS on public health policy and on the rights of women. In addition, she writes about the concept of dignity and its role in legal theory and public policy. Cooper teaches the Legislative and Policy Advocacy Clinic at Fordham, which partners with community-based and legal advocacy organizations to expand their capacities to achieve essential New York City and State legislative and policy reforms. She is a graduate of NYU Law School, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Thomas Laughlin, Esq., is an attorney at Scott+Scott in New York, where his practice focuses on securities class action, shareholder derivative, and other complex commercial litigation. Laughlin is married to Eric Weinschenk. He is a former clerk for the Honorable Irma E. Gonzalez, United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of California. He is a graduate of Yale and New York University Law School.

Charles Kaiser is the author of The Gay Metropolis, The Cost of Courage and 1968 in America. In addition to his position at the LGBT center, he is a Grove Fellowship Program Leader at Hunter College.

Please consult the following resources if you want to learn more about the surrogacy issue:

Text of New York State Bill



Presented in partnership with the LGBT Social Science & Public Policy Center at Roosevelt House.

Panel Discussion on Changes to New York State’s Surrogacy Law | Posted on March 23rd, 2018 | Public Programs, Special Projects and Conferences