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Legislation & Policy

Surrogacy360.org Advisory Committee

NCLR is a member of the Advisory Committee for Surrogacy360, which seeks to provide acurate information for intended parents seeking to use surrogacy internationally in an ethical manner. NCLR does not generally recommend that U.S. parents engage in surrogacy arrangements outside of the United States because of the danger that children born through surrogacy may not be recognized as U.S. citizens and encourages parents to consult with experienced surrogacy and immigration attorneys in the U.S. before considering surrogacy abroad.

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Legislation & Policy

FAMILY Act

The FAMILY Act would establish a national paid leave insurance program. Specifically, it would provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of partial income to address their own serious health condition, including pregnancy or childbirth; to deal with the serious health condition of a parent, spouse, domestic partner or child; to care for a new child; and/or specific military care-giving and leave purposes.

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Legislation & Policy

New York Parenting Legislation

Beginning February 15, 2021, NY will allow parents to conceive children using surrogacy while protecting the rigthts of people acting as surrogates and provide important new protections to parents conceiving through assisted reproduction. Prior to this legislation, New York state had few laws protecting LGBTQ parents. In particular, NY made surrogacy illegal, and unmarried parents could have children through assisted reproductions and be recognized unless they did an adoption. The Child-Parent Security Act modernizes New York parenting laws by recognizing that sperm and egg donors are not parents; recognizing that intended parents using assisted reproduction are parents, including single parents and unmarried couples; allowing intended parents to become parents through surrogacy and recognizing that persons acting as surrogates are not parents. The law also provides some of the strongest protections for the rights of people acting as surrogates in the country. Finally, the law also allows intended parents using assisted reproduction to obtain documentation proving they are a parent for free by filling out forms available at every hospital by expanding the Acknowledgement of Paternity process, which is currently only open to unmarried genetic fathers.

NCLR is proud to have participated heavily in drafting portions of the legislation and advocating in particular for stronger protections for low-income parents, unmarried and single parents, and persons acting as surrogates. NCLR is a member of the Modern Families Coalition advancing the bill.

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Legislation & Policy

Uniform Parentage Act of 2017

The Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) is a uniform law that states may enact. There have been several versions of the UPA, but until 2017, it used gendered language and did not address same-sex parents directly. The UPA of 2017 fully protects both married and unmarried same-sex couples, and includes many important provisions protecting LGBTQ parents, including provisions addressing children with multiple parents, parents using at-home insemination, surrogacy, and comprehensive assisted reproduction protections. It also provides protections for low-income parents, including protections for parents using at-home insemination, and access to a free system to establish parental rights available at every hospital in states that adopt the UPA.

NCLR participated in the drafting committee for the UPA of 2017 as an Observer, advocating for full protections for LGBTQ parents, including low-income parents.

As of January 2020 the UPA of 2017 has been enacted in California, Vermont, and Washington, and legislation is pending in Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania.

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Legislation & Policy

California Uniform Parentage Act

California law has long provided important protections for many LGBTQ parents, but many parents and their children were still excluded from protections. California adopted key portions of the Uniform Parentage Act of 2017, particularly those provisions protecting low-income families in AB 2684 (2018). Some provisions of this law went into effect in 2019. On January 1, 2020, provisions went into effect allowing parents of children using assisted reproduction to obtain a free document protecting their parental rights at any hospital after giving birth called a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage, and requiring gamete banks and clinics to allow gamete donors a process to agree to have their identity released to children conceived with their gametes at age 18.

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Legislation & Policy

Uniform Nonparent Custody and Visitation Act

NCLR has long focused on protecting the parental relationships between LGBTQ parents and their children and has established many rights for families across the country through both case law and legislation.¬†NCLR participated as an Observer in the Uniform Law Commission’s committee to draft a Uniform Nonparent Custody Act to ensure that the rights of LGBTQ parents were adequately protected in this Act.

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Legislation & Policy

LGBTQ Family Law Institute

The LGBTQ Family Law Institute is a joint venture of NCLR and the LGBTQ Bar. The Family Law Institute allows experienced LGBTQ family law practitioners to share collective wisdom and to discuss cutting-edge legal strategies for representing members of the LGBTQ community. Members of the Family Law Institute convene in person annually and collaborate regularly via an online listserve. To find out more about membership or to see a directory of Family Law Institute member attorneys, please visit the LGBTQ Bar.

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Legislation & Policy

California Assembly Bill 960

On October 10, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that updates the state’s assisted reproduction laws to ensure that all families are equally protected under the law.

Authored by Assemblymember David Chiu, Assembly Bill 960 updates current assisted reproduction laws in three ways: first, unmarried couples using assisted reproduction to become parents will be recognized as such on the same terms as married parents from the moment their child is born; second, it removes the requirement that a doctor or sperm bank must be involved when using assisted reproduction in order to ensure that the donor is not a parent; and finally, AB 960 provides clear direction for how egg donors should be treated under California law.

AB 960, which went into effect on January 1, 2016, was co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, and Our Family Coalition.

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Legislation & Policy

Children with More Than Two Parents

Most children have at most two parents, but some children have more than two people in their lives who act as the child’s parent in every way. For example, a child raised from birth by a biological mother and a non-biological father may also have a relationship with his or her biological father. In such a situation, the child may consider both adults in the home, as well as his or her biological father, to be parents. In such a case, it may protect the child’s interests to have a legally protected relationship with all three of the parental figures in his or her life.

This legislation, which went into effect January 1, 2014, was the first to provide comprehensive protections for children with more than two parents, and provided a model for the Uniform Parentage Act of 2017 and a number of other states that later enacted similar legislation, including Maine and Washington.

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Legislation & Policy

Equal Access to Fertility

California fertility service providers are permitted to offer people seeking to conceive using a known sperm donor access to certain fertility services on the same terms as different-sex couples under Assembly Bill 2356 (2012), which went into effect January 1, 2013. This bill was authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and co-sponsored by Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Increasingly, women in same-sex couples, transgender people, and single women are asking trusted friends to act as sperm donors in order to conceive a child. California was the first state to legally recognize that people may use known donors (not just anonymous sperm donors) to conceive a child.

However, people using known donors could not access the same fertility services as women in different-sex relationships. Different-sex couples can have insemination services using fresh sperm. Known donors’ sperm must typically be frozen and quarantined for six months. Insemination using fresh sperm is more effective and less costly.

AB 2356 allows providers to provide insemination services using fresh (unfrozen) sperm to people using known donors. Providers are not required to offer this service, but this law clarifies that they may offer it.

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