Boston — Proposed laws dealing with surrogacy range from the outright banning of the practice as a form of baby selling to legalizing the practice to protect what some say is a couple's constitutional right to procreate. Of the 19 states that have considered legislation of surrogate motherhood, California has been closest to passing a law. A bill that was passed by the state Assembly last year failed in the Senate. It would have required surrogate mothers to be at least 21 years old and to have already borne a child. In addition, it would have required medical evaluations and psychological counseling for the father, his wife, and the mother they hired. Further, to quell the charges of baby selling, this legislation would have declared the money given to the surrogate ``compensation for her services'' and not payment for the child.
Other states are taking different directions. A bill in Missouri, for example, would render surrogacy contracts unenforceable, but would allow agreements where there is mutal consent to be carried out in private. New Jersey's proposed legislation would limit payment to a surrogate mother, to $10,000. And a New York law being considered would deem surrogacy contacts both legal and enforceable with prior approval from a judge. But to qualify a couple would have to be incapable, because of infertility, of having a child.