Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Baby selling" and "designer babies" bills pushed in House and Senate

The legislation constitutes legalized baby selling and raises the specter of the state encouraging the new eugenics – designer babies.

The bills, HF 3448 (Tingelstad) and SF 2965 (Higgins), authorize the establishment of legally enforceable gestational carrier agreements which would require Minnesota courts to enforce contracts between an intended parent or parents and a third party birth mother who is hired for money to birth the baby and turn it over to the intended parent.

The Senate bill would also eliminate the use of the word “father” and spousal terminology (husband, wife) in such agreements.

Gestational and surrogacy agreements mean:

Baby selling – not a contract for services

The agreement is structured around the transfer of the baby after birth. Failure of the birth mother to turn over the child would constitute breach of the agreement and the intended parent(s) could sue to obtain the child.

Very few women would serve as surrogates if they were not compensated.

The agreement allows the intended parent(s) to “pay the gestational carrier reasonable compensation” which goes beyond legal, medical or other professional expenses. There is no limit on “reasonable” compensation.

Ignores the “Best interest of the child”
The legislation completely ignores the rights and interests of the unborn child. They’re merely an object in a contractual exchange between the birth mother and intended parent.

There is no provision to guarantee that the child have a mother and a father. And, any rights are based “solely on the evidence of the parties’ original intent.” There is no judicial authority to truly determine what is in the child’s best interest.

Promotes designer children

The intended parent or parents can use donated eggs and/or sperm to create this new child, opening the door for the new eugenics - designer babies.

Destruction of human beings, i.e. embryos

Surrogacy agreements create a market designed to supply embryos. Excess embryos will result in destruction or freezing. Encouraging this market will cause destruction of human life.

Exploits women

Society recognizes prostitution as an exploitation of women for sexual purposes. Compensation of women for reproductive purposes is no different.

The state is redefining the concept of motherhood

Motherhood is now subject to contractual agreements entered into before the baby is even conceived. Redefining the “birth mother” as a “gestational carrier” exposes this effort.

The state is encouraging redefinition of family

Children are becoming commodities created at the whim of people who then “sell” them to other individuals. Gestational and surrogacy agreements weaken the biological/genetic link and sociological basis for family and parental relationships established for generations.


Anonymous said...

Yes but because there are no laws in place, biased judges are taking advantage of that. A woman in MN, a TS(traditional surrogate, genetically linked to the baby)refused to give up her rights and tried to retrieve her baby. Even though she was the only one on the birth certificate, noone would help her, viewing as just a surrogate, she is the child's biological mother. To teach her a lesson, the judge gave her no visitation of any kind and is trying to enforce the surrogacy contract that was altered and notarized illegally(the notary was a friend of the couples and notarized the woman's signature without her present. To this day, the notary has never met the mother). Upholders of the law will abuse the law if they are able to.

Tanya said...

I entered into a "surrogacy contract" in the state of MN in 2003. I gave birth to a daughter in 2004. I did not relinquish my parental rights and fortunately, I was able to retain them. It was a long, drawn out (and still not concluded) battle but at least right now, I know and can participate in the life of my daughter.

It this bill is able to pass as it stands, the law enforcement officials will be able to twist it, turn it and apply it wherever they please - which means that though I do not fit the "mold" this law lays out (for starters, I am genetically connected to my daughter), it would have been very easy for them to twist it, apply it to me and strip me away of all the rights that I have to my daughter.

That is unethical and morally wrong. Furthermore, it's most definitely not in the best interests of the child. Studies have shown that the bond between a mother and a child is strong and real. To willingly enter into a situation where you will create this trauma of separation is inherently wrong.

That does not even touch on the other issues at hand - like the issue of a child's right to know it's mother AND father. To pass this bill as it is laid out would also be dangerous in this respect as it leads us down a very frightening road.

It sets Minnesota up to be a breeding ground. A place that same-sex couples flock to so that they can lay their money down and return home with a child.

Tanya said...

However, I want to add that it's equally as dangerous to eliminate this bill and allow things to carry forward as they are.

With NO laws in place, we are seeing a very dangerous thing happen. One particular woman, with INTACT parental rights is not being allowed access to her child because of a contract that Minnesota does not even recognize.

The judge is actually saying that she is going to enforce a contract that was illegally modified and disallow this mother from having access to her daughter. An absolute atrocity.

They refuse to apply adoption law - which at least grants a natural mother the right to change her mind for TEN days after she signs this relinquishment.

This woman isn't even being afforded that most basic right.

So, in summary - something does have to change. Just not in this manner.

Chuck Darrell said...

Tanya, please email us at family@mfc.org


Chuck Darrell

Tanya said...

I am writing an email right now.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the story on the news I immediately went to your website to get more information. I mistakenly thought that your organization might be in support of such a bill/issue. As a 31 year old woman who recently lost the ability to carry children due to a rare condition - but can still use a surrogate to have a child with her own DNA and that of her husband's, I think that the state of MN does nothing to protect my rights. At least this bill is a start.

I am sure that the situation was very difficult for Tanya, and I feel sorry for her situation. However, if she felt it was so "morally wrong...etc" maybe she should not have entered into the contract in the first place. I know that sounds cold...but what about the feelings of the intended parents?

I think that everyone out there who is against the use of a surrogate should hop off their pedestal and think about the other side of the issue. It must be nice to have a choice...but some of us don't. Until you walk in the shoes of a woman who cannot carry a child and enjoy all that it entails it is unfair of you to do anything to prevent someone else from it. Or to judge them for using the technology available to them to obtain something that you take for granted. As long as you are able to yourself, you will never understand. As long as that child is going to a loving family, I don't know why it should be a concern of anyone's other than the parents that will be taking care of the child.

I find the rhetoric on your website deeply offensive and heartless. I hope that you and/or your spouse/partner never have to go through what my husband and I are going through. Until you do, maybe you should focus your efforts on something you know something about.

Anonymous said...

Maybe God wants you to adopt. Wouldn't that be the most loving, unselfish thing to do? To give a child that is already here a home. You are right those that aren't in your situation can't fully relate to what it's like for you. And women who get into these situations and change their minds need to be protected. A lot of these children go to gay or lesbian couples. They can't have children because it wasn't set up the way they want it to be. That it takes a man and a woman because children do best in two parent families that have a mother AND a father.

Anonymous said...

Oh please - everyone in the surrogacy community knows that Tanya is a mentally unbalanced woman. She will do or say anything at this point, because she is desperate. The bottom line is that surrogacy is a way that beautiful and wonderful families can be created, and this bill will ensure protections are put in place. Hopefully they will also require psychological testing, if that were done, Tanya would probably never have been allowed to be a surrogate in the first place.

Chuck Darrell said...

Hey Anon,

Only cowards leave messages like yours unsigned.

Chuck Darrell

Anonymous said...

And only cowards use religion and the word of God to destroy families - which is something you're good at.

Tanya said...

Using religion and the word of God does not make one a coward. It makes one brave and bold to stand up and speak for what they believe is just and true.

To the April 6, 2008 anonymous poster:

It is unfortunate that you no longer have the ability to carry a child. However, what I disagree with is that you should have the legal ability to exploit another woman (with money) in order to obtain a child.

Would you really wish a lifetime of heartache onto another woman? And what about the child? How might that child feel in 14, 15...18 years to know that he/she was a product of this trade? That he/she was purchased?

If surrogacy is truly an altruistic act, if it isn't about buying and selling, then the element of money (especially of such gross magnitude) shouldn't need to be a factor.

In addition to all of this: have you looked closely at the legislation? It's designed to let anyone, anyone sign a contract with a woman to obtain a child. No screening. No home visits. This isn't in the best interests of children. It's just not.

Like I said, it's unfortunate that you can not have children. However, it's selfish and not in good faith to suggest that others should suffer to absolve you of the suffering.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous from April 9,
I'm assuming that you are part of the "surrogacy community" (I didn't realize there was one). Your comments about Tanya alone would preclude me from giving you my child.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous April 9,
It's not unusual for a perpetrator to be blind to their offense. You must have benefited from this kind of arrangement and, as a result, I would expect your position to be what it is. Otherwise, how would you live with it and call it what it is?

Anonymous said...

I would like to address both the infertile woman and the anonymous blogger. First off, there is more than one woman's story in this blog, "Tanya" has her own story and some other anonymous people have theirs. The story in the beginning is not Tanya's but another Minnesota woman who is currently in litigation. I am certain that the anonymous blogger that cut Tanya down is probably the other party or a friend of the other party's. Because I happen to know first hand how they have tried to spy on her, degrade her, belittle her, and continue to abuse her when all she ever wanted was access to her biological child. She was never going to shut anyone out that is genetically tied to the child just as she should not be shut out either. It is her egg and she should have the same frigging rights as every other mother in this state! I cannot say the same for the other party because as soon as she had the child, they did everything and stillare to erase her, eradicate her, discredit her, and continually abuse her. Because they are so self involved, they do not realize that ultimately the person that will be hurt the most is the child. The same holds true in Tanya's story and many other traditional surrogates that were lied to and defrauded. Many have tried to pay back the money so they can retain any parental rights. All have been refused. Contracts in this nation always have a back door, a way out. Even if you have to pay an enormous sum of money but the courts will not allow a way out in some custody cases and and are enforcing these illegal, altered, fraudulent contracts; that is equal to slavery and reducing the child to chattle. Women that are going to place their children up for adoption can change their minds because it is their right.Surrogates are second class citizens with no rights at all. The new bill further ensures that these women have no rights whatsoever, no right to change their mind, no right to realize they made a mistake. That is unconstitutional and against all laws. And I do feel for infertile women but we cannot step on the rights of others, we are all supposed to be equal in this country. And don't give me the same old stupid line,"well you shouldn't have gotten into the situation then." Because unless you have never once made a mistake or changed your mind or knew exactly how you were going to feel in the future, you have no right to judge. These women thought they would be ok with it, they were not. They have a right to change their minds and they have a right to be treated like every other citizen in this nation but that is just not happening.

Anonymous said...

By the way if you go to the SMO board in the surrogacy community, you will see there is a blog on how many people would be a ts if continued contact were not allowed, very few. People are behind a certain gay couple in this surrogacy community because they don't know the truth about these men. They don't know how they lied to innocent children and women and how they continue to lie. They would not be so well accepted if the truth were revealed about just how conniving they really are. But I am sure that will be revealed in time. I will sit back and eat some popcorn and watch the show.

Anonymous said...

I am the Iintended Mother of a woman who is a gestational carrier (not in MN) currently several months pregnant with a baby that is ours genetically. The gestational carrier has no genetic relationship to the child she is carrying for us (she did not use her own eggs) . I unfortunately can not carry a baby to term myself due to medical reasons. My husband and I decided to adopt that was the “good Christian thing to do.” However, we were turned down to adopt! It was because we had any mental, criminal or substance abuse problems. It was only because my husband several years ago had a small cancerous growth removed. We provided stacks of testimonies for medical specialists stating that we are both in great heath, however, we were turned down to adopt an infant or young child because we had the word "cancer" in our medical history. We would have been happy to adopt, and we saw so many stories about all these young children needing loving parents. Well, ARE loving, stable people with a strong spiritual upbringing, but this does no automatically give you the green light to adopt.

We have a legal contract in place that was written reviewed by our own separate lawyers with reproductive law specialties (it is very important you find an EXPERIENCED reproductive specialty lawyer for this so there are no legal issues later for anyone). We also have become very good friends with our gestational carrier, her husband and her family. The gestational carrier is being compensated for her time to do this for us, but most gestational carriers will tell you this is not a money thing. Our carrier wanted to help another family bring life into this world. We see the fact that we are expecting our biological child through the help of another women a blessed thing that God has done for us. I agree with the comments of the other Anonymous person that it is easy to be able to judge other people when you have not walked in their shoes. If God did not want us to have a child this way, he would have let us adopted. The biggest take-away I would recommend to Intended Parents is that you do not have the same woman who is carrying your child ALSO be the egg donor (even if it is a family member). You are just asking for trouble legally by doing it this way.

We are so very grateful to our gestational carrier and to God for what he has allowed us. This is not prostitution in any way. Your would be surprised - many of these kind women who offer to be gestational carriers for families with fertility problems may just be your next door neighbor or a member of your church - so be careful who you judge.

Anonymous said...

Please note I omitted an important word above in my response above. It should have stated:

"It was NOT because we had any mental, criminal or substance abuse problems."

My typing was a bit too fast on this important topic.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous of April 23, 2008
I believe if these arrangements were allowed but without any compensation other than medical expenses it would greatly reduce the availability of surrogates. Let's take away the compensation and see what happens. I imagine it is a lot of low income, desparate women who are agreeing to these arrangements. Thus, being exploited.

anonymous said...

I know that I am several months late in replying (I only just found this site) but am nonetheless horrified by the above comments.
To anonymous of April 24,2008.
I am a 30 year old, middle class woman who is in the process of becoming a gestational carrier for a lovely couple. The intended mother is unable to carry her child, so I have agreed to carry her biological child to term for her. For you to imply that "a lot" of women who open their hearts and lives - for the better part of a year - are low income and desperate is quite insulting. Maybe you should take some time to talk with these women before you pass judgment on them. I'm betting it's safe to guess that you are not being forced to carry a child that isn't yours. I think it's also a safe bet that any compensation that goes to these women isn't coming out of your pocket, so why do you care? Is it your personal mission to spread ignorance? I chose to open my heart and life to a couple I didn't know, because of how deeply I cherish the children I have with my husband. To help someone who so desperatley wants that, achieve such a goal, then I suppose I'll wear the stained label of desperation so that one more family can be as happy as I am.