To the editor:
A letter was recently submitted regarding two bills currently at the Minnesota Legislature - SF 2627/HF 291. I would like to address a number of inaccuracies.
First, these bills collectively address much more than just surrogacy. They give the right to appear and assert parental rights to infertile intended parents in paternity/maternity cases where it does not currently exist. This cures an existing due process problem for certain infertile Minnesotans. They also add provisions to our sperm donor statute (that has been around for nearly 35 years) to address egg and embryo donation, as well. The bills essentially address the gender discrimnation that exists in our current outdated parentage statutes, providing available options for each of sperm, egg, and uterine infertility.
Second, this bill would not "create commercial surrogacy." Commercial surrogacy currently is going on in Minnesota; it is just unregulated. What the bill would do is regulate and already-existing reproductive process.
Third, the author admits he has not experieced the pain of infertility. (It is easy to oppose a process you do not need - or understand.) Furthermore, he cites no personal research for his undocumented opinion that surrogacy is harmful - to anyone. He simply parrots an unsupported conclusion. I have worked as an attorney with nearly 300 surrogates. They would ALL disagree with this author's statement.
Fourth, this is not "buying and selling a child." Infertile couples create an embryo, often with their own egg and sperm. Because the woman has, perhaps, had uterine cancer and had her uterus removed, they simply need someone to gestate THEIR child. They temporarily deliver it to a willing and supportive woman who gestates their child and then returns their child to them after birth. She may (or may not) receive just reimbursement for the time and expense she incurs in the process, but those payments do not constitute payment for a child. The process is no different than paying a daycare provider for her time and services to watch a child after birth while the parents work. Neither process creates in the surrogate or daycare provider the right to keep the parents child, and both services are entitled to reasonable payment for the services. It isn't buying a baby; its payment for very real services rendered.
Fifth, this legislation has been studied and discussed for years. Nearly identical legislation was thoroughly discussed, vetted through the political process, deemed necessary and appropriate for Minnesota, and then passed by both the house and senate in 2008 before being vetoed by then-Governor Pawlenty to further his conservative political aspirations. There will never be enough discussion for those who oppose this process, but, once the discussion is done, it's still the right thing to do.
The question isn't whether surrogacy should happen in Minnesota. The question is, now that it IS happening, should we appropriately regulate it so it is as safe and responsible as possible? Call your legislators and tell them to vote yes for SF 2627/HF 291.
Steven H. Snyder, Esq.
Immediate Past Chair
American Bar Association
Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Minnesota State Bar Association
Family Law Section