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Paid Surrogacy Becomes Legal In New York, 'A Complete Game Changer' For Would-Be Parents

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A big change in New York starts Monday for couples and singles struggling to start a family.

New York is joining most other states in the nation, making paid gestational surrogacy legal.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, for Lisa and Mohamed of Valley Stream, Monday brings a turning point in their quest to start a family.

"We are very excited. It's a big day. We were waiting for this for three years," Mohamed said.

"Yes, because we knew we would have to go this route even before surgery," Lisa said.

Cancer surgery made it impossible for Lisa to carry a child, so they will pay a surrogate. New York state is reversing its decades-old prohibition. Paid surrogacy will become legal.

"It's a complete game changer, in that what is now referred to as the 'Parent Child Security Act' will allow certain kind of surrogacy arrangements," said attorney Joseph Milizio.

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Milizio explains paid surrogacy was outlawed in New York and three other states amid comparisons to baby selling. The new law comes with pages of regulations. Courts are gearing up to oversee detailed agreements.

"Parent have to provide a slew of benefits to the surrogate... health insurance has to be supplied, life insurance has to be supplied," Milizio said. "Physical examinations, mental examinations."

Surrogates are lining up already. The agency Conceivabilities says two-thirds of surrogates know someone struggling with infertility.

Rebecca Kitchin is a New York mother eager, she says, to give a gift.

"I just want to help. I want to provide meaning to someone's life in a way that transcends myself, and what better way to do it than by helping somebody with a family they so deeply desire," Kitchin said.

For couples who have had to seek surrogates out of state, the new law means easier access to prenatal appointments and the birth. Emotional inquiries are pouring into Rite Options.

"They could be part of LGBT community, heterosexual couples, singles, women unable to carry a child," said program coordinator Rita Kardash.

"From the time of embryo transfer to the date of birth and every appointment in between, I'd love to be a part of it," Lisa said.

"You want to be involved the excitement of the whole process," Mohamed added.

New York will have some of the strongest protections for surrogates in the nation. They must be 21 and be paid at least $34,000.

The new law only allows payment if the surrogate is not the biological parent.

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