Congratulations, you have survived whatever illness nearly took your life! Now go out and live to the fullest! There will be a few challenges along the way, and here's a big one. You found your life's mate and you are ready to start a family. The only trouble is, because of your medical history, your body is incapable of holding a pregnancy to term.
As a couple, after exploring all the options with experts in the field, you decide a gestational surrogate, willing to carry your child, would be the appropriate choice for your family. What a miraculous and loving gift this gestational carrier could give by helping you and your spouse become parents.
But wait, you and the gestational carrier live in Minnesota. There could be a problem.
What if your future family depended on a group of people, with no background in legal or medical fertility issues, who would decide if gestational carrier surrogacy would be allowed for your family? What if your chosen gestational carrier could not help you based on a decision made by a commission of legislators that did not include infertility professionals?
There is a real possibility this situation could occur.
Currently in Minnesota there are House and Senate bills, regarding this issue, making their rounds. (SF 348 & HF 437) The House bill (now incorporated in the larger State Government Finance Omnibus Bill SF 888) wants to set up a commission of people (not including any professionals in the infertility community, or those who have built their family using gestational carriers) to decide on the future of surrogacy in the state of Minnesota.
The first question to ask is why would any legislator want to serve on a commission that would not also include professionals with years of experience and perspective on the topic? Is there a single position the commission is supposed to support? If that is the case, why is there a commission forming at all?
The second question to ask is who are the people behind these bills?
Several organizations under the banner of Minnesotans for Surrogacy Awareness are behind the bills. The organizations include a few groups who have been involved in other fights against individual civil liberties in the state of Minnesota.
Perhaps the reason these bills are in existence is because those behind them wish to endorse a single minded view of surrogacy and its process. Perhaps even do away with the practice all together and limit your options on how to create your family.
Becoming a gestational carrier is not easy. If you listen to this segment of The Gyno Show, a gestational carrier from Minnesota explains the lengthy detailed legal contract she had to sign, the medical tests and the counseling she had to undergo before she could even begin the process. She also talks about what a gift the process was for her, not just a gift for the biological parents raising the child.
Gestational carrier surrogacy from either side is not a flippant decision. It is very personal. For a woman choosing to be a gestational carrier, imagine how much soul searching must go into the decision to take on months of caring for a potential child she will not call her own. For potential parents, imagine how painful it must be to finally acknowledge that, for whatever reason, you and your spouse can not alone create the family you've always planned for.
The cost is an uphill climb for many potential parents. According to Circle Surrogacy, a group that works with many young adult cancer survivors, costs in the U.S. can range upwards of $70,000.
By forming a commission of people who have no experience with this process, I wonder what the true purpose is? Is it to help families in Minnesota? Or is there an agenda to do away with the surrogacy option?
Our society was built on neighbors helping neighbors. If a family's crop failed, a neighbor could help that family survive by sharing his/her resources. Since those early days, science has given us miraculous advancements in how we can further help one another. Gestational carrier surrogacy is one of those advancements. No one is being forced to become a gestational carrier, but many women are feeling called to become one, in order to help others who are struggling.
Why should a committee made up of people who are not a part of this community decide what is "right" for this community?
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