Until 1993, there were no statutes in the United States covering gestational surrogacy contracts, disposition of stored embryos and gametes, parentage of children born from donated gametes and embryos, and the inheritance rights of cryopreserved embryos of deceased donors. In March 1993, the Florida Assisted Reproductive Technology Act was passed to address some of these issues and to minimize the expense and emotional cost of related courtroom proceedings. Authors of the bill believed that motherhood of a newborn in the eyes of the law should be determined by two factors: genetic inheritance and the original intent of the woman to become the parent of record. The bill included the assumption that, in the cases of children born of gestational surrogacy, the commissioning genetic parents would be the “natural parents” of the child. Some of the reasons for legislative success of the statute include: 1) clear need for statutory guidance in cases involving reproductive technology, 2) relevance of the issue to cost containment (ie, judicial costs) in an era of health care reform, 3) careful use of scientific terminology and the support of the medical community, 4) involvement of a skilled legislative team, 5) participation of physician specialists in the development of the bill (ie, practicing gynecologists in assisted reproductive technology programs), 6) participation of the State of Florida legislative staff, and 7) consultation with appropriate lobbying groups (eg, Florida Catholic Conference). The successful legislative process that was followed to achieve passage of this bill can serve as an example for other states to emulate.
© 1994 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists