Despite the increasing popularity of assisted reproductive technology (“ART”), Maryland does not have a comprehensive state statute that definitively establish the rights of intended parents using assisted reproduction or collaborative reproduction procedures. This legislative session, however, the Maryland General Assembly introduced the Maryland Collaborative Reproduction Act (Senate Bill 208 and House Bill 236) on January 16, 2014, which aims to address issues arising from such arrangements and to protect the rights of all parties involved.
The Act addresses many facets of the collaborative reproductive process including establishing certain rights and obligations of intended parents and their children, establishing that a valid gestational carrier agreement is enforceable in the State, and specifying certain requirements for parties prior to entering into a gestational carrier agreement.
In support of the Act, Zamani & Scott, LLP Partners Sara S. Scott and Sogand Zamani recently submitted letters of testimony to Delegate Kathleen M. Dumais of the House Judiciary Committee and Senator Brian Frosh of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. According to their testimony, the Maryland Collaborative Reproduction Act presents a balanced approach to defining parentage to children born as a result of ART, and will introduce important, additional safeguards that will preserve the integrity of the process by creating and maintaining uniform requirements to become gestational carriers. The legislation is also significant because it would clarify important procedures such as listing the intended parent(s) names on the resulting child’s birth certificate, thus ensuring uniform designation of the intended parent(s) on birth certificates.
Zamani & Scott advocated that, “[w]ith the advent of new reproductive technologies, collaborative reproduction through gestational carriers has become not just possible, but common place and it is here to stay.”
Senate Bill 208 had its first reading on January 16, 2014, and a Hearing on January 30, 2014. However, no further action has been taken by either chamber at this time.